This week in Amsterdam the Addressing the Challenge and Constraints of Insulin Sources and Supply (ACCISS) Study Team held their Multi-stakeholder Meeting 2023. And what a meeting it was! With over 80 participants from over 20 countries, organising it was no mean feat. But the team’s hard work paid off with a smooth running and, importantly of course, interesting and engaging discussions and presentations from start to finish.

We kicked off the day with some important words from James Reid  of the The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, who reminded participants to focus not just on the now but the future to sustainably improve access to insulin. The first session was an update from the ACCISS Study, highlighting both the global findings on the current insulin landscape and lessons learnt from ACCISS country partners from Tanzania (TANCDA), Peru (CRONICAS) , Mali (Sante Diabetes) and Kyrgyzstan (HPAC). After the updates it was into the expert discussions that would define the rest of the day.

The morning was structured around moderated panels based on achieving the World Health Organization’s targets for people living with type 1 diabetes, starting with HAI’s own Marg Ewen leading on defining and measuring availability and affordability of insulin. This was followed by a panels on improving quality assurance for blood glucose monitoring devices and then a focus on addressing availability of insulin to the last mile (or the last meter!).

To take us into lunch, attendees split up into groups for roundtable discussions around the three panel discussions. These were animated to say the least, and demonstrated the depth of not only knowledge but also passion for the issue from everyone present.

The afternoon sessions shifted the focus to ensuring access to diabetes care in Universal Health Coverage. The first panel here, on making diabetes care sustainable within UHC, was a bit trickier to manage, with two of three speakers joining online (one in the US, one in Thailand), but the technical team did a great job of making the transition from room to online. One of the most eagerly awaited sessions of the day, moderated by Molly Lepeska, was on ensuring diabetes policy is person-centred  through true co-creation of policy.

The final panel was on turning diabetes promises into practice, including hearing real-life experiences from Tanzania on transitioning to a national diabetes programme, from Kyrgyzstan on carrying out doctor and nurse training to implement diabetes clinical guidelines  and thoughts on how technology can be used to create more equity in care. After another set of roundtable breakout discussions, it was back to the plenary for the final wrap up session, led by Hans Hogerzeil who summarised the day for us – a big task considering how full the agenda was, but one he handled typically well.

One thing that everyone could agree on was, no matter how interesting the discussions of the day had been, it was absolutely essential that joint efforts and exchange continued for a long time to come.

Many thanks to our ACCISS donor, The Helmsley Charitable Trust, for their support in making important discussions like this happen.