Kindness is Contagious

In Indonesia, more than 19 million people between the ages of 20 to 70 live with diabetes, according to the International Diabetes Federation. More than 70 percent of those people are undiagnosed.

Lions test blood sugarSome of the consequences for living with undiagnosed and unmanaged diabetes include blindness, kidney failure, amputations, nerve damage, and heart disease.

Lions across District 307-A1 Indonesia decided to prevent these life-threatening consequences by screening more than 11,000 people in their community for diabetes and raising awareness about the chronic health condition.

With support from a US$23,248 Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) Diabetes grant, Lions of District 307-A1 were able to expand and equip the Siti Mariam Health Facility in West Jakarta to combat the numbers of people living with undiagnosed diabetes, as well as help those living with diabetes to manage their condition.

“If diabetes is not treated, it can ruin your life. And if it impacts the head of household, then you are talking about the lives of an entire family,” says Lion Jessie Budiman, grant administrator of the project.

For example, Budiman says, if a father can’t work anymore because he lost his eyesight or his leg was amputated because of undiagnosed diabetes, then the whole family is affected.

More than a decade ago, Budiman’s parents, Henie and Anwar Budiman, both physicians, helped establish the Siti Mariam Health Facility with the support of Lions in West Jakarta. And now, 13 years later, Lions expanded the facility to include diabetes management and prevention.

“I feel diabetes is one of the strongest causes of LCIF because it is something that you can actually manage. You don’t have to live with the complications of diabetes. You can manage it,” Budiman says “It’s about catching it on time, before it’s too late. And that is what we hope our center can provide.”

Funds from the grant enabled Lions to purchase HbA1c test strips, blood glucose test strips, lancets, latex gloves, and stipends for medical personnel. Lions involved in the project, many who are medical professionals, screened more than 11,000 residents with the paper-based risk assessment, almost 9,000 people with the blood glucose test—all at no charge.

“I didn’t know I had a blood glucose level that is very high,” says one beneficiary. But thanks to Lions, the doctor explained to me what I can do to lower it.”

Originally, the Lions only planned to screen 5,000 people, but with the help of more than 700 Lions in the district, they doubled their goal by the end of the project.

“That is the thing that I love most about Lions,” she says. “Kindness is contagious in Lions. When we have a good project, everyone wants to take part in it.”

Learn more about LCIF diabetes grants: