Khawla manages her diabetes despite the lock down
This Balata Refugee Camp resident is feeling better, thanks to ready access to the medicine she needs
Khawla was born and raised in Balata Refugee Camp, in the vicinity of Nablus City in the West Bank. When Khawla began experiencing strange symptoms like feeling thirsty constantly, she thought at first that she was simply tired.
Like many residents of Balata, the fragile economy has hit her and her family hard. Many residents can barely make a living. High unemployment is a major challenge in the camp, which is believed to have one of the highest rates of joblessness in the West Bank. A few residents run successful shops or convenience stores a just outside the camp, selling seasonal spices and other basic goods.
Apart from the challenges facing residents, the Balata camp is known for its spirit of community solidarity. The Yazour Clinic is a reflection of these values, offering medical care to financially disadvantaged patients like Khawla.
Khawla discovered that she has Type 2 diabetes after a visit to the Yazour Clinic. Genetics are a risk factor for developing diabetes and the condition runs in her family, afflicting her mother and brother.
The clinic doctor prescribed the medication empagliflozin for Khawla. When combined with a healthy diet and exercise, the drug lowers blood sugar levels in Type 2 diabetes patients. However, the cost of the medicine is several days’ wages for many in the camp. The clinic is fortunately able to offer the medication at no charge to its patients, because Anera delivers it to them as a donation from Americares.
“If the medication wasn't available here, it would have been way more than I could afford. The toughest decision I would ever have to make is choosing between food or health,” she says.
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, the need for medications has taken on new urgency in crowded communities like refugee camps. There are restrictions on movement across the West Bank, so it is harder for people with chronic diseases to seek treatments outside of their immediate area.
Now, Khawla’s health is improving. She is able to control her blood sugar levels and she no longer worries that she won’t be able to access her medicine or suffer life-threatening complications during the lock-down.
Khawla is able to obtain her medication thanks to a generous medical donation from Americares. The shipment of donated medicine contained 3,560 empagliflozin bottles. Anera recently distributed the medicine to 11 hospitals and clinics across the West Bank, including the Yazour Clinic.