My name is Lion Osarenkhoe Ethel Chima-Nwogwugwu and I’m from Nigeria. For 21 years, I have lived with Type 2 Diabetes. I'm sharing my story because I want to change the negative narratives around living with NCDs in my community.
The first four years of my diabetes journey was Gestational Diabetes with pregnancies of our second and third daughters (Osassy and Ibim) and I was diagnosed with T2D just six months after the birth of our third child (Ibim), the rest is history. Living with diabetes brought the best out of me and gave my world a healthy living slate.
At 35 years and a mother of three then; a PLWD, an entrepreneur, life was definitely wasn't going to be easy. However, with the medical care team, my family support and diabetes support (DAN) I had at that early stage, I was able to manage my diabetes journey. I had two more beautiful daughters (Emmy and Uju) as a PLWD.
Being positive-minded about my condition changed my world positively from diet to lifestyle to identify my life goals to structuring my passion to serve humanity.
I became the voice of the voiceless, hope of hopeless, face of DIABETES and an International Advocate for PLWNCDs, a community volunteer at the second largest hospital in Lagos State (General Hospital Gbagada) as Empathy Officer, serving in different committees of the hospital including (Service Charter, Infection Prevention committee (IPC), Maternal Prenatal Death Surveillance Review(MPDSR), Blood Donation Drive Committee, Quality Improvement committee, GHGbagada woundcare committee).Chairperson: Diabetes Association of Nigeria Gbagada Branch, Lions Club International District404A1-Diabetes Awareness and Action Project 2020/21. Founder of Diabetes & Limb Salvage Foundation (DLSF) and founding member-International Limb Salvage Foundation USA (ILSF): Coordinator of Podiatry Advocacy across Nigeria in partnership with some US-Based Podiatrists. An adviser to Nirvana INITIATIVE (sickle cell NGO).
Entrepreneur as CEO of OsaChima Ventures Ltd, distributor of medical products e.g Glucometers, Heamoglobin machine, BP monitors etc locally produced Agricultural products and products for wellness.
Proud member of the Blue Circle Voices Network (BCV)-an initiative of IDF, I was one of the two facilitators that represented Nigeria in the recently concluded WHO Informal Consultation of People Living With Diabetes in March 2021 and the only representative of Nigeria as a keynote listener in the WHO Global Diabetes Compact Summit Launch on 14 April 2021.
26 July 2021
The journey unknown embraced with a smile
This photo of our 5 beautiful daughters represents our family's journey with multiple chronic conditions. My eldest, Onyin, was born within months of my mother's death from diabetes complications. My first experience with gestational diabetes was during pregnancy with my second daughter, Osassy. Six months after the birth of my third daughter, Ibim, I was diagnosed with T2 diabetes. Two weeks before my fourth, Emmy, we lost my mother-in-law after multiple strokes from high blood pressure. And my fifth, Uju, represents our victories against NCD challenges.
26 July 2021
Food my medicine, kitchen my hospital
I believe managing diabetes and other NCDs depends on how we farm, preserve, and prepare our food, including the quantity we eat without artificial sugars. My eldest daughter prepared this sweet potato porridge. It always gives me a normal (FBS) reading, making it one of my favourite dishes. Look at how little we require to live healthily despite diabetes staring at us daily. Overcoming the challenges of living with NCDs requires you and your family to be deliberate and disciplined about your food.
26 July 2021
The spirit and power of positivity dwells in us all
During a routine family walk in January 2021, I noticed this beautiful creation of a plant, which my children informed me is called "touch me not". Like the pancreas, if not disturbed it remains open. If disrupted, it closes up. This is what obesity, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, excessive alcohol intake, smoking and self-medication does to our pancreas, leading to diabetes. This photo was taken after my family just survived the 2nd wave of COVID‑19. Appreciation of the world around me became deep.
26 July 2021
One act of kindness makes the difference
As a volunteer in the second largest state hospital, I conduct medical screenings for NCDs including diabetes, sickle cell, and hypertension. Lack of knowledge and government shortcomings on NCDs drives me to work hard raising awareness and screening communities. Unfortunately, COVID‑19 disrupted these efforts. Myself and family members tested positive but thankfully overcame the virus, yet others living with NCDs did not, including my friend living with Lupus, Sade. Although information was available, hospitals were under-equipped, which may have quickened the death of Sade and many others.
26 July 2021
The power of positivity makes the difference in life
I am hopeful of change. Through my work, we are building the capacities of community health centers to provide primary NCD care and tackle the deep-rooted issue of late diagnosis due to cultural and religious beliefs, and lack of awareness and government participation. We need collaboration and financial support, and involvement of people living with NCDs in decision-making processes and implementation. I call on our government to invest more in health, make NCD care affordable, and harness the power of people living with NCDs.
My name is Lion Osarenkhoe Ethel Chima-Nwogwugwu and I’m from Nigeria. For 21 years, I have lived with Type 2 Diabetes. I'm sharing my story because I want to change the negative narratives around living with NCDs in my community. Service to humanity is my passion.
Lion Osarenkhoe Chima-Nwogwugwu, lived experience of multiple chronic conditions, Nigeria
About NCD DIARIES
The NCD Diaries use rich and immersive multimedia approaches to share lived experiences to drive change, using a public narrative framework.