We talk sometimes in the newsletter about the Pura Vida (Pure Life) health division of CUDA. Jaclyn, Katie, Justin, Sarah, Jeremy, Andy, Beth, and I have all worked with Pura Vida. We have synthesized our efforts into something we are calling “ProCED.” Here is an outline of what ProCED is all about:
The Program for the Care and Education of Diabetics (ProCED) is a community development program designed to 1) prevent diabetes and raise awareness in the community, 2) identify people who are at-risk or who have diabetes but don’t know it, and 3) holistically support diabetic patients and their families with the information and resources they need to manage the disease and prevent complications.
The ProCED program consists of various components:
- Screening campaigns are events designed to identify at-risk, pre-diabetic, or diabetic patients. These screenings may be held in hospitals, clinics, health fairs, etc. Finger stick blood glucose tests are performed on fasting patients who are identified to have moderate to high risk of diabetes based on the FINDRISC risk assessment tool. These events are publicized to the community beforehand and in cooperation with existing medical providers in a local community. All patients screened and especially those at risk are educated on diabetes prevention. Pre-diabetic and diabetic patients are referred to local physicians and a ProCED health promotor for follow-up care.
- Diabetes clubs are support groups we initiate in each community. These groups provide ongoing education from specialists (endocrinologists, nutritionists, dentists, podiatrists, ophthalmologists, etc.) who come to speak at club meetings and patient-to-patient emotional support and encouragement to live a healthy lifestyle. Patients who find others in their community who are experiencing the same difficulties are much less likely to feel isolated, depressed, and give up on diet, exercise, and regular doctor visits. CUDA Pura Vida staff help connect trusted specialists who are willing to donate their time and expertise to the local diabetes clubs at no charge. Family members of diabetic patients are also encouraged to attend club meetings to learn how to help their relative manage the disease.
- Exercise groups can be initiated if there is need in the community for it. CUDA has volunteers who are specialists in exercise. Exercise is an extremely important part of diabetes management and prevention. Diabetes club members and anyone else from the community who is interested in diabetes prevention is welcomed to attend these groups at no cost.
- Nutrition fairs are events we encourage the diabetes clubs to host in order to promote healthy eating. Nutritionists and cooks teach how to prepare low-carbohydrate meals. Patients may also choose to bring their favorite healthy recipes and share them with others. Exhibitions and food tastings are also great ideas for these events.
- ProCED workbooks are designed to help organize and educate diabetic patients. ProCED promoters will take patients through the workbook step-by-step and advise the patients about all of the ADA recommendations such as necessary lab work, blood pressure goals, and blood glucose target ranges. ProCED workbooks also include simple explanations of why each goal is important to the patient in non-technical terms that they can understand. The workbook also serves as a repository for the various medical records and medications that physicians like to see all in one place. Patients are encouraged to take their workbooks with them to their doctor and to their specialists so that everyone on the treatment team can get a full picture of the patient’s diabetes care and management. The workbooks also serve to educate the patient and encourage the patient to take responsibility of their own disease management. ProCED promoters meet monthly with patients to help and encourage the patient. ProCED promoters are not to take the place of regular doctor visits, rather to encourage patients to more regularly see their doctor. ProCED workbook cost will be limited to the cost of the printing and binding of the workbook.
CUDA Pura Vida volunteers and ProCED promoters are people who believe in the ideals of the organization and who want to help their communities with the current diabetes epidemic. ProCED promoters are volunteers who have some training already in the healthcare field (i.e. nurses, pharmacists, nutritionists, etc.). ProCED promoters are trained on diabetes basics, ADA guidelines for disease management, and how to take patients through the ProCED workbook by CUDA staff.
We define health as the state of wellbeing that God designed humans to live in. This includes not only the absence of disease, but emotional, relational, and spiritual peace and maturity. All our activities take this definition of health into account. While we take great care not to be coercive in forcing our faith on our patients, we do believe whole-heartedly that the best thing for every human being is to live a life reconciled to God and to his fellow man. Jesus Christ is our example and motivation to care for the sick. That includes loving everyone and caring equally for those who share our beliefs and those who do not.
A few of the things in this overview of ProCED have not been fully realized yet (like the nutrition fairs and training Peruvian promoters), but this is the document we are working with as a guide and a vision for the coming years. The program has been started in the Hunter district of Arequipa and we plan to expand it to two more districts in the coming year or two.