My name is Anita Sabidi from Jakarta, Indonesia. I live with type 1 diabetes, cardiomyopathy and asthma.

I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1997 at age 13, and subsequently with cardiomyopathy and asthma when I was in college.

I am an artist, illustrator and designer with a passion for increasing diabetes awareness through art. I work closely with Indonesia’s diabetes community, PERSADIA and IKADAR, and NCD Alliance Indonesia. I design customised diabetes wear and illustrations for children and families to better understand diabetes.

I'm sharing my story to encourage people living with NCDs, to increase awareness of NCDs in the community, and to call for change within our health system.

Visual Diary

16 August 2022

My diagnosis

I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1997 at age 13, after developing symptoms including frequent urination, weight loss and fatigue several months prior. The diagnosis was challenging as health providers lacked awareness of diabetes, particularly in children.

In 2001, I was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, for which I had to be transferred to the national hospital to undergo necessary testing, as there were limitations with the imaging facility at the private hospital. The same year, I was diagnosed with asthma. Now living with multiple NCDs, the quality of care from my doctors is critical.


This is me in 2012, working for the national oil and gas mining company in South Sumatera, Indonesia. Despite living with multiple NCDs, with proper medical treatment I have been able to work and live my life to the fullest.

Visual Diary

16 August 2022

My NCD care journey

I’m grateful for my wonderful team of doctors, which is led by my endocrinologist and includes a cardiologist and pulmonary specialist. My treatment well-coordinated as the team are all located in the same facility and my medical records are accessible online, easing communication and coordination. Times where this was crucial include when my asthma medication conflicted with my diabetes treatment, which required adjustment of my insulin to re-balance my blood sugar.

I have private and national health insurance, which I use to receive treatment at public hospitals if certain services are unavailable at the private hospital.


These are the medical supplies that I use as a person living with multiple NCDs. This includes insulin injections, oral medications for the heart and kidney, an inhaler and preventer for asthma, and supplements.

Visual Diary

16 August 2022

My diabetes community

A key challenge within my diabetes community is that people, including healthcare providers, don’t have sufficient knowledge about symptoms or understand that diabetes could happen to anyone, despite age, gender or social status.

Another challenge is that Indonesia consists of 17,000 islands, complicating access to healthcare facilities, laboratory works, specialists and medicines. Traveling by boat to reach the nearest pharmacy for diabetes supplies or traveling by plane to meet with a specialist in the city is common practice.

The community plays an important role in providing information and working together to reduce these barriers.


Diabetes workshop with IKADAR (Ikatan Keluarga Diabetes Anak dan Remaja / Indonesian Children with Diabetes Organization) and IDAI Banten Province (Ikatan Dokter Anak Indonesia / Indonesian Pediatrician Association) to increase diabetes awareness in the society.

Visual Diary

16 August 2022

Challenges of living with multiple NCDs

Through national insurance, the government covers doctor consultations, laboratory works and medicines.

However, Indonesians still face difficulties in managing diabetes, like glucose strips not being covered by the government. People living with multiple NCDs must visit different hospitals to see the appropriate specialist, which often creates treatment challenges since there are some medicines that may conflict with different conditions; for example, some asthma medicine contains steroids, which affect blood sugar for people living with diabetes.

Coordination among doctors is therefore crucial to improve quality of life for people living with multiple NCDs.


This is a nebuliser used for asthma management. Asthma treatment may contain steroids which affect the blood sugar of people that are also living with diabetes. This requires close monitoring of blood sugar and necessary insulin corrections by health providers.

Visual Diary

16 August 2022

Make your voice louder

Challenges in Indonesia include poor diabetes awareness and lack of access to healthcare for people living with NCDs.

I call on the government to:

  1. Raise awareness of NCDs through education and training programs. Few Indonesians understand the symptoms of diabetes or that it can affect anyone, despite age, gender or social status.
  2. Train healthcare professionals to improve NCD treatment, management, and use of technology, especially within provinces beyond Java.
  3. Strengthen the reach of civil society to account for gaps in the health system. This is necessary due to Indonesia's geographic condition and limited number of NCD specialists.

I took this photo at the Indonesia Youth Town Hall, at an event held in 2019 by CISDI (Center for Indonesia's Strategic Development Initiatives) with 1,500 representatives from Asia Pacific. The photo represents collaboration among health communities to empower primary healthcare providers and strengthen communities to improve health outcomes.

NCD Diaries

Growing up with type 1 diabetes, and later with cardiomyopathy and asthma, is not easy and requires a strong and supportive care team. "Keep on going" is my magic phrase during challenging times.

Anita Sabidi, lived experience of multiple chronic conditions, Indonesia


The NCD Diaries use rich and immersive multimedia approaches to share lived experiences to drive change, using a public narrative framework.

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