Daniela Rojas Jimenez, from Costa Rica, is a psychologist who works with people living with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes on a daily basis.
She has personally lived with type 1 for 25 years. Dani is a blogger for “Diabetics Solutions” being an activist for the diabetes community in Costa Rica and across Latin America. With EDPD (education in diabetes by people with diabetes), an initiative Dani co-founded in Costa Rica with Paula and Manfred, she reaches out to schools and workplaces in Costa Rica to help prevent discrimination towards people living with diabetes.
Dani is also a leader for ‘Asociacion Dia Vida’ and supports their camp for children and teenagers living with diabetes. Her main passions are in education with empowerment and therapeutic accompaniment for those with diabetes, their families and loved ones. Dani’s main purpose behind committing to this work is to prevent people from feeling alone, afraid of their own body, anxious or depressed – she wants to help people with diabetes to understand that although the process is not always easy, there is always a way to learn from their bodies and every experience they go through – together with education – will allow them to become stronger and comfortable in their own skin. Dani believes that you can not only live very healthy but also live very happy in life with type 1 or type 2 diabetes.
I am Paula Chinchilla, 22 years old and I have diabetes 18 years ago. I was diagnosed when I was 4 but since then my life changed in a positive way. It has never stopped me from doing anything, any kind of sport I wanted or social activities and I let it to be my passion. I’ve working to help and educate people like me through our association in Costa Rica, in the organization of camps for children with diabetes and motivational talks. Also I am doing a project of education about diabetes in schools, high schools and workplaces.
Diabetes in Costa Rica
Costa rica has 4.808 million inhabitants. In 2015, there were 278 thousand cases of diabetes. 1 in 12 adults have diabetes. This represents 8.6% of the population. An alarming fact is that the growth of diabetes cases in Costa Rica is higher than the international average. The Atlas of IDF also shows that there are 111 thousand people between the ages of 20 and 79 who have not yet been diagnosed but who have this disease. This represents 40% of the population with diabetes in the country.
During 2015, 1600 deaths were associated with this disease. Type 1 diabetes is not a common disease in Costa Rica, with a reported annual incidence of 3.14 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants with less than 15 years of age, being classified as a country with a low incidence.
The key aims of our association (Asociación Dia Vida) are:
• Create awareness that it is time to focus on the improvement of integral health and the quality of life that all citizens with diabetes deserve.
• Continue to grow in number of people and quality of topics for the monthly meetings.
• Expand national groups and inform people living outside the San Jose area whom is difficult to attend meetings, who can share and obtain information via email, as the association makes a summary of the meeting of each Saturday.
• Motivate people who have diabetes to make a change in their life. From the year 2010 the Dia Vida Association began to integrate Type 2 diabetics, so the group is for all ages and all members of the family are welcome.
• Coordinate visits to schools to discuss the issue to children and young people in the fifth grade and beyond. Obesity, a problem that generates type 2 diabetes can’t be abandoned; it must be attacked from the earliest ages. This will in the end affect a population more educated in food issues and it is strongly believed that this will help to reduce the accelerated increase that is taking place worldwide in the emergence of new cases of type 2 diabetes.
• Carry out an educational plan on the symptoms of both types of diabetes so that people are diagnosed as soon as possible and avoid further complications of health in the medium and long term.
• Search for more sponsors, whether large, medium or small companies and media that wish to support and collaborate with the Asociación Dia Vida to make it known at a national level, to carry out important activities that help the Costa Rican population that has Any type of Diabetes and to provide these people with medications, equipment or materials that they need.