Aldophmy Joseph is a young man who recently turned 18 in September 2018. Along with his family, he lives outside of the town of Mirebalais in the central plateau of Haiti. Aldophmy has not felt well for as long as he can remember, and would often feel sick after eating. After rapidly losing weight, he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. He initially struggled to manage his condition, as his family could not afford to buy the basic food he needed to balance his blood sugar. With regular check-ups at the nearby Partners In Health and Ministry of Health-run Hôpital Universitaire de Mirebelais, he has been able to monitor his insulin intake. Although he has been able to manage his type 1 diabetes well, Aldophmy and his family still struggle to have their basic needs met living in a setting of rural poverty.
What Aldolphmy Joseph’s story teaches us
Boucan-Carré is a small town, just outside of Mirebalais in the central plateau of Haiti. Aldophmy shares a small two-room structure with with his mother, three sisters, and one brother, in addition to some land to grow food and plant bananas. When Aldophmy was first diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, he could not store the insulin at his home without electricity, as he cannot keep the medicine cold. Instead, he stores the insulin at his aunt’s house, and goes over there twice a day to take injections.
Aldophmy is fortunate in that he is able to access care and insulin for free. However, he and his family struggle to meet their most basic needs such as having running water, or affording food needed for a balanced diet. Living with type 1 diabetes, Aldophmy does need to monitor his food intake closely, but the cost of vegetables and nutrient-rich food presents significant challenges. Aldophmy explains “Without HUM it will be very difficult, because sometimes we cannot even afford to buy food. I heard the insulin is very expensive. If it was not free, it will be hard to find money to buy this medicine.”
Despite the hardships that Aldophmy has faced, he is still able to attend school and is currently in 8th grade. When he finishes school, he would like to be a computer scientist to be able to support his family and live comfortably. At the end of the day, he would “love to stay healthy, and also find more help for me and other patients with diabetes.”