The EtonHouse Community Fund (ECF) has partnered with the KKH Health Fund (KKHHF) to improve the care of less privileged children with diabetes through the use of technology such as a Glucose Monitoring System (GMS) and educational and outreach initiatives such as diabetes camps for patients and their caregivers.
Over 400 active paediatric and adolescent patients with diabetes are seen at KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH) each year. Blood glucose monitoring is a critical need for these patients living with this chronic condition, as glucose levels that are too low can result in the loss of the ability of the nervous system to function normally and levels that are too high can result in long term health complications.
Traditionally, glucose levels can be monitored by administering a finger-prick test at least four times a day. For young children, this can cause disruption to their school life, as they would have to pause their day-to-day activities to administer the test. With the GMS, children with diabetes can monitor their glucose levels more conveniently and less painfully.
The GMS comprises a small, circular sensor discreetly inserted in the upper arm.
The patient and caregivers can wave a reader over the sensor at any time to obtain a reading of the glucose level.
This greatly reduces the frequency of finger-prick tests and keeps children from experiencing unnecessary anxiety in the classroom, in turn allowing for better concentration and learning outcomes.
It also enables the child to better monitor glucose levels through the night without needing to be woken up for regular finger-prick testing, thereby improving sleep quality.
Says a parent with a type one diabetic child, “When my child was about two years old and newly diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, I was administering the finger-prick test for my child more than 10 times a day. I had to prick him in his fingers and toes. I couldn't tell whether his blood sugar is high or low just by looking at him physically. He could run into the risk of hypoglycaemia or hyperglycaemia anytime. The multiple finger pricks were then the only way to check his blood sugar and making sure that he is safe. With the GMS sensor, I can check his glucose levels regularly without causing pain or interrupting his sleep.”
However, children from less privileged families may not have ready access to the GMS, especially since treatment for diabetes may already be a strain on their families’ finances.
With a sponsorship sum of more than S$200,000, the ECF will be able to support about 60 children with diabetes from less privileged families with the use of GMS which will empower these children and adults to follow established care plans for the child. The use of the GMS also provides rapid response to the fluctuations in glucose levels in the event of hypoglycaemia (low blood glucose) and comes in handy in the treatment or prevention of hypoglycaemia. Additionally, by using the GMS, parents will have a greater sense of relief and peace of mind enabling them to focus on their work and in turn support their family.
Through this partnership with KKHHF, we hope that children living with this chronic disease will be more empowered and confident in school. By being able to actively participate in all aspects of learning, they will experience a more joyful and fulfilling childhood.
Professor Alex Sia, Chief Executive Officer, KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital said, “We would like to thank EtonHouse Community Fund for their generous support, which will allow us to continue to provide holistic care for our paediatric and adolescent patients with diabetes.” The ECF, an independent IPC charity focuses on improving the lives of less privileged children and youth through education.