This post is one of a series of seven blog posts that go behind the scenes on our recent short film Insulin for Life. Watch the film below and check back on our blog for more stories about the people in the documentary.
Lamin Dibba’s smile is contagious and our film crew saw him employ it generously when out on his rounds as diabetes educator for Pakala Clinic in Bajul, the main city of The Gambia. Insulin for Life USA provides Dr. Gaye insulin and supplies to give to patients who do not have the means to purchase the supplies on their own.
Pakala Clinic is run by the physician and diabetes specialist Dr. Alieu Gaye who has known Lamin since he was a young teen, struggling with his own type 1 diabetes in a country where supplies can be difficult to find. Dr. Gaye helped Lamin understand and take control of his condition and through the process the two became close, like father and son they say. They employ a similar sense of calm as they work side by side to help their patients successfully manage their condition.
“He paved the way for me. He nurtured me to become a good man,” Lamin said of Dr. Gaye. “All I know. Being hardworking, the spirit, the courage, everything came from him.”
Dr. Gaye practices general medicine, but most of those people in the Gambia who are newly diagnosed with type 1 or type 2 diabetes are referred to his clinic. Lamin, recently out of university, is now employed to help Pakala’s patients manage their day-to-day care. He makes home visits, discusses dosing, supplies, nutrition and exercise with people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes between their visits to the clinic.
Lamin spoke to our crew about the difficulties of growing up in The Gambia with type 1 diabetes. His family didn’t have enough money to purchase insulin, so he had to sometimes wait in long lines to receive vials once a month from the government hospital.
“It’s frustrating. Because, we all didn’t come from a good economic background,” Lamin said. “So, what the rich man’s kids may experience is really different from what the poor man’s kids experience.”
Dr. Gaye is hoping that Lamin will use his education and training to make a change in the country – lobbying for the government to provide supplies for all people living with diabetes in need.
I want to, “give him leadership skills and leadership training. I’ve gone through all that and I want to give back to him a lot of what I have gone through. I see a future in him as a good leader and I want to help him,” Dr. Gaye said when we asked him about Lamin. “He is an inspiration to the kids, he really is. He would be wonderful for this country if he continues this way and he will influence change at the highest political level in this country.”
As our crew followed Lamin on his visits, they saw the spark of a leader who wants to make a difference in the lives of the people around him.
Watch the film to learn more about Pakala clinic and their patients.
To donate supplies or funds to Insulin for Life USA click here