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HOPE says health education is crucial in countries with highest prevalence of the disease: China, India and United States

Millwood, Virginia, November 14, 2011

To mark World Diabetes Day, global NGO Project HOPE is calling for a new emphasis on health education to combat the staggering toll inflicted by the disease across the developing world, where millions have diabetes and millions more are not properly diagnosed storing up a silent future medical crisis.

The incidence of diabetes is spreading fast around the world, and U.S.-based Project HOPE, a health education and humanitarian assistance organization is on the frontlines to combat the global epidemic. 

World Diabetes Day

“In China, it’s estimated that more than 92 million adults have diabetes and another 148 million adults are in the pre-diabetes stages.  In India, 50 million people are struggling with diabetes, and the epidemic has spread to sub-Saharan Africa – where more than 12 million people have the disease.  In these countries, a majority are undiagnosed.   These statistics are staggering and convey an impending world health crisis,” said Charlotte Block, diabetes specialist and registered dietitian at Project HOPE.  

Health care training and education are offering hope to communities from Beijing to Johannesburg as Project HOPE programs promote patient empowerment and public awareness of the disease and emphasize the importance of continuity of care from diagnosis to learning and adopting healthy habits  and skills for self-management of diabetes. 

In China, Project HOPE and the Chinese Ministry of Health have made an impact with ten rural and urban training centers.  Project HOPE is the only U.S. NGO administering diabetes education programs in China.  To date, HOPE has educated 40,000 health care providers and reached over 223,000 patients and their families through programs supported by China’s MOH and funded by HOPE’s corporate partners BD, Eli Lilly and Company and Roche. 

India Diabetes Educator Project

The Diabetes Educator Project in India is based on HOPE’s Train-the-Trainer methodology, training health care professionals in diabetes prevention, care and management.  More than 2,700 educators have graduated since 2007 from a class of 4,400. The program is the only one of its kind to receive recognition from the International Diabetes Federation.  

In Mexico, diabetes is increasingly affecting children, due to growing obesity rates, and Project HOPE has collaborated with the Ministry of Health and a network of elementary schools to adopt a holistic approach to the problem, promoting “healthy habits for a healthy weight” in a school-based program targeting 3rd graders. Watch Video

“One in three children is obese in Mexico and we are reaching these kids with a message that promotes three healthy habits including eating more fruits and vegetables and less processed fats, drinking more water and less sugary beverages, getting exercise and spending less time in front of the television,” said Courtney Guthreau, Diabetes Specialist and Regional Director for the Americas for Project HOPE. 

New Mexico Program

Closer to home, in New Mexico, telehealth technology is a driving force in efforts to raise awareness about diabetes and provide training to health care workers.  A mobile screening and education unit known as the HOPEmobile is improving access to screening for diabetes and related conditions of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and obesity, especially among rural, hard to reach communities. 

“Some of the people we see  have never had health screenings for diabetes, blood pressure, cholesterol and body mass index, and now we are providing retinal screenings as well. Health education is empowering families and mobilizing communities for better health,” said Nancy E. Brown Connolly, Director for Project HOPE in New Mexico. 

World Diabetes Day is held annually on November 14 and aims to increase awareness of the effects of diabetes and its complications. It is hoped that increased awareness will lead to more resources to fight the causes of diabetes and help fund research for improved treatment options. 

About Project HOPE 
Founded in 1958, Project HOPE (Health Opportunities for People Everywhere) is dedicated to providing lasting solutions to health problems with the mission of helping people to help themselves. Identifiable to many by the SS HOPE, the world’s first peacetime hospital ship, Project HOPE now provides medical training and health education, and conducts humanitarian assistance programs in more than 35 countries.

Media Contact

Geraldine Carroll   Tel. 540.257.3746   gcarroll@projecthope.org

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