A few days ago I got to be a part of my first planning meeting for CUDA’s new medical development project. Over the last several months, CUDA has built a relationship with a large outpatient clinic in the district of Arequipa called Hunter. Preventative medicine is our objective and we’ve decided to focus mainly on diabetes to start because it is a major problem. Now that we have more “expert volunteers” we had a big meeting to plan for 2015. As Alfredo (CUDA’s executive director) explained the situation at the clinic and some of the possibilities, the rest of us brainstormed ideas on how we can diminish the impact of diabetes on the population of Hunter. There are a lot of opportunities and the only real problem is deciding how we can make the biggest impact.
Here’s our initial plan of attack:
- Pre-diabetics: Continue our diabetes screenings at the clinic to identify people in danger of becoming diabetic and help them make changes to prevent the disease.
- Diabetics: Follow-up with home visits for the clinic’s diabetic patients to improve medication compliance, provide education and resources, and show love by taking the time to care for them in their home. We will also be forming diabetic support groups.
- Children: School programs in collaboration with CUDA’s Living Libraries program to improve nutrition and education so that diabetes will have less of an effect on the next generation of Arequipeños.
If you work in healthcare, you know things can be hectic on the job. Sometimes we’re required to spend so much time doing paperwork to prove we took care of the patient that we have no time to actually take care of the patient. My favorite part of being a hospital pharmacist for the last two years was when I could break out of my daily routine and sit down with a patient to listen to them, teach them something, or pray with them. It was in those times, which were fewer and farther between than I would have liked, that I felt like I was really making a difference in someone’s life. At the clinic we’ll be working with here in Hunter, the doctors have more patients that they have time for. When this happens the things that tend to get cut out of the consults are listening, education, and spiritual support. As I sat in our planning meeting the other day, it dawned on me that my new job as a volunteer with CUDA is to spend all of my time doing, in my opinion, the best part of these doctors’ jobs because they don’t have time. I couldn’t help but feel downright giddy about the prospect. What a gift from God!