Los Reyes Ixtacala, Mexico, November 4, 2015
Angelica (left) with Project HOPE's Andrea Dunne-Sosa

In Mexico, diabetes is a serious public health crisis. According to the International Diabetes Federation, diabetes currently afflicts 12% of Mexican adults, aged 20-79 and is the second leading cause of death in the country. 

In 2003, Project HOPE launched a diabetes educational program in Mexico targeting both patients and health care professionals called “5 Steps to Self-Care.” The program involves 12 two-hour sessions learning about risk factors and disease evolution, developing skills such as monitoring glucose and meal planning, and building a positive, proactive attitude toward self-care. After the launch of this program, Project HOPE trained local health clinics to provide the program themselves, including some of the state-run clinics.

A 5 Steps class in progress in Los Reyes Ixtacala

It was at one of these clinics in Los Reyes Ixtacala on a recent visit that our staff, including Project HOPE’s Regional Director for the Americas, Andrea Dunne-Sosa encountered a woman named Angelica at a 5 Steps class. When Angelica first joined the program six years ago, she weighed nearly 300 pounds, was unable to walk and was living with uncontrolled diabetes. She sold merchandise at a small corner shop, where she needed to use a stick with a clip on the end in order to reach most of the products for customers while sitting, as her weight prohibited her from moving around freely on her own. 

Since joining the 5 Steps program Angelica has lost 120 pounds, her diabetes is controlled, and she is able to walk and participate actively in the program. Angelica now lives an active and independent life. She continues to participate in the group sessions in order to inspire others by her success.

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