Growing up in Mauritius, I wanted to be a scientist, and my passion for research turned to reality when I became a Ph.D. student at the Pasteur Institute of Lille in France. Later, working in the pharmaceutical industry in cardiovascular, diabetes and obesity research for the past 20 years, taught me to put patients first. I have always felt good about my scientific pursuit and contribution to chronic non-communicable diseases (CNCD; related preventable conditions of type II diabetes, stroke and cardiovascular diseases); my belief that there is hope through research, and the dawn of the next cure through research, drug discovery, and development. However, I felt that I needed to do more than being on the research bench. I learned that the starting point for living well with diabetes is first and foremost an early diagnosis followed by therapeutic and lifestyle intervention. I have learned that the longer a person lives with undiagnosed and untreated diabetes, the worse their health outcomes are likely to be, with an increased risk of micro and macrovascular complications.
As a child and young man in Mauritius, I saw my maternal grandmother and my maternal uncle suffer and die from diabetic complications. My uncle was young when he was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes (T2D). I never got the opportunity to know my paternal grandmother who died of a heart attack in her early fifties. Still today, I have friends, close family members in Mauritius who have been diagnosed with diabetes but find it difficult to manage or talk about their health condition.