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The International Diabetes Federation Life for a Child Program was established in response to the desperate situation facing many young people with diabetes in less-resourced countries.
The idea for the program came from the then IDF President – Maria de Alva. A brainstorming meeting was held in Sydney, Australia in March 2000, and the program formally launched in late 2000 with a pilot in three countries – Philippines, Fiji, and Papua New Guinea. Critical initial support was received from Diabetes NSW & ACT and HOPE worldwide, and Diabetes NSW & ACT (in Sydney) continues to house the program staff and provide infrastructure support.
Assistance for diabetes centres in India and Bolivia commenced in 2002, and the Programme expanded into Africa in 2004. Coverage quickly expanded in 2009 when Eli Lilly commenced support with insulin, with other pharma companies (in particular Trividia Health, LifeScan, and Becton Dickinson) also commencing support. Substantial grants from the Fondation de l’Orangerie and then the Leona M and Harry B Helmsley Charitable Trust permitted expansion to new countries, along with development of education, mentoring, and research initiatives.
As of 2017, Life for a Child is helping support the care of over 18,000 children and young adults with diabetes, in 42 countries.