A century past the discovery of insulin: Global progress and challenges for type 1 diabetes among children and adolescents in low-income and middle-income countries

Document Type

Review Article


Centre of Excellence in Women and Child Health; Institute for Global Health and Development


Type 1 diabetes is on the rise globally; however, the burden of mortality remains disproportionate in low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs). As 2021 marks 100 years since the discovery of insulin, we revisit progress, global burden of type 1 diabetes trends, and understanding of the pathogenesis and management practices related to the disease. Despite much progress, inequities in access and availability of insulin formulations persist and are reflected in differences in survival and morbidity patterns related to the disease. Some of these inequities have also been exacerbated by health-system challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. There is a clear opportunity to improve access to insulin and related essential technologies for improved management of type 1 diabetes in LMICs, especially as a part of universal health coverage. These improvements will require concerted action and investments in human resources, community engagement, and education for the timely diagnosis and management of type 1 diabetes, as well as adequate health-care financing. Further research in LMICs, especially those in Africa, is needed to improve our understanding of the burden, risk factors, and implementation strategies for managing type 1 diabetes.

Publication (Name of Journal)