Child-Size Needles in Short Supply in Countries Around the World

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.


Nyla Burgess looks out from underneath a ponytail of curls that perfectly match the spunk of her 8-year-old personality as she explains the plot of her latest, most favorite comic book. Our film crew visited Nyla’s family at their home in Belize to hear first hand of the difficulties one can encounter attempting to find diabetes supplies in their country.


Nyla has been living with type 1 diabetes for about a year. She has a small frame, as one would expect of an 8-year-old, and requires the smallest syringes to administer her insulin injections each day. When her family first started gathering supplies last year for her care, they discovered that these small, child-sized syringes could sometimes be impossible to find at pharmacies in Belize.


That’s where the Belize Diabetes Association (BDA) steps in. The organization provides diabetes supplies free of cost to people living with type 1 and type 2 diabetes from across Belize. Some of the supplies that BDA delivers to its members are donated by Insulin for Life USA.


Nyla’s family visits the BDA office in Belize City once a month to pick up the syringes, test strips and lancets she needs to manage her condition. Because Nyla’s doctor prescribes a type of insulin that the Belize Diabetes Association does not have in great supply, her family purchases her insulin at a nearby pharmacy.

Nyla’s parents explained to us that the BDA has buoyed them in this past year while they all adjusted to Nyla’s diagnosis. “To be strong for Nyla, we need the Diabetes Association to help us,” her father, Kerry Belisle II, told our crew.


Nyla’s mother, Anita Ack explained that if the Belize Diabetes Association didn’t provide supplies for Nyla they would most certainly have to limit her testing. Test strips are incredibly expensive in Belize. If they had to purchase them, they wouldn’t be able to afford all the strips she needs to meet the protocol that her physician has laid out for her daily care.


“You are shooting in the dark if you don’t have testing equipment,” Mr. Belisle said about testing Nyla’s blood sugar. “You don’t think about it when it is there…it becomes a very scary place to be to not have access when you need it.”


As Insulin for Life USA’s President, Mark Atkinson, PhD says, the goal of Insulin for Life USA is not just to keep people alive, but to improve lives.


Donations to Insulin for Life USA help to improve the lives of people like Nyla living around the world.


Watch the film to learn more about Nyla’s story.



The Belize Diabetes Association 

To donate supplies or funds to Insulin for Life USA click here.