Diabetes in School Programme
A countrywide awareness campaign on tackling childhood diabetes

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Juvenile diabetes in Turkey has reached unprecedented levels, with 20,000+ child sufferers. Despite the scale of the problem diabetes awareness amongst teachers, parents and pupils remains low, with many sufferers going undiagnosed or having their needs misunderstood, leading them to be mislabelled as, for example, disabled.

To tackle the problem healthcare leader Sanofi Turkey collaborated with government and other NGOs to deliver an ambitious, countrywide educational awareness programme Diabetes in School that:
* Aids juvenile diabetes diagnosis
* Helps diabetic children and their teachers manage the disease
* Helps prevent Type-2 (adult) diabetes in later life by helping prevent obesity (a known contributor).

Since the programme’s launch we have achieved widespread diabetes awareness through a multi-media campaign which included lectures, posters, letters and online educational content (downloaded 10,000+ times). Most crucial of all were 25,000 face-to-face training seminars delivered to:
* 7.5m of Turkey’s 17.5m schoolchildren
* c.600,000 of Turkey’s 750,000 teachers
* 500,000+ parents

Although the programme is still ongoing there is already evidence that it is making a real difference to sufferers. For example an awards scheme we set up to acknowledge the contribution of teachers who had either diagnosed a diabetic child or enhanced their quality of life at school received 117 applications.

Turkey’s struggle against childhood diabetes is by no means isolated, yet it’s the first country globally to tackle the issue on a countrywide scale, providing an exemplary model of what can be achieved when governments and NGOs collaborate to achieve a common goal.

We also believe the project is pioneering in its social approach to childhood diabetes, putting the solution not in the hands of trained medical professionals but in the hands of pupils, parents and in particular teachers, who now have the soft skills to diagnose, manage and, in the case of Type-2 diabetes, help prevent the disease.[/one_half_last]

Our educational workshops and a Canteen memorandum by the Ministry of Health tackled the root cause of obesity in children (namely a poor diet) in order to help prevent the onset of Type-2 diabetes in adulthood. The clampdown dealt with school dinners and prohibited the sale of unhealthy snacks and drinks on school premises.

However eliminating junk food in schools unintentionally drove some children to buy sugary snacks from nearby shops instead, which schools have no control over. Our programme has been responsible for raising and identifying this issue and consequently, it’s currently being reviewed by the Turkish Health Minister.


Pharmaceutical companies ordinarily offer healthcare solutions to medical professionals. This scheme represents a significant departure from that norm thanks to its decision to target teachers, pupils and parents directly.

This approach not only ensured the efficacy of the campaign by empowering those it most nearly concerned, it also enhanced Sanofi Turkey’s public profile as a champion of children’s health, garnering unprecedented public exposure for Sanofi thanks to the widespread media-coverage the project received, reaching 45 million people, well over half of Turkey’s population.

The scheme also represents an excellent example of a multi-stakeholder public-private partnership delivered on a national scale.[/one_half_last]

The Speaker

Aysun Hatipoglu, Public Affairs & Communication Director, Sanofi Group Turkey

At the Turkish Government’s Privatization Authority, Aysun was Head of Department, in charge of coordinating relations with international financial organizations such as The World Bank, IMF and international rating institutions. She worked for British American Tobacco in corporate and regulatory affairs in the Africa-Middle East Region, covering Turkey, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, Israel and South Africa. In 2007 she transferred to Türk Telekom’s Strategy and Business Development Department as the group head in charge of a number of Change Management projects within the post-merger transformation program. She joined the Sanofi Group in December 2009 as Public Affairs & Communication Director.