Diabetes is a leading cause of death in Mexico, accounting for approximately 70,000 deaths each year. There are approximately 9 million people living with diabetes in Mexico and an estimated 71 percent of people are overweight. Project HOPE is addressing this important issue with programs that train health care providers on how to best support patients living with diabetes and to improve their health outcomes and quality of life.
In 2015 HOPE partnered with Ser Bien (Wellness Health Services – a local NGO in Mexico City) to address challenges that patients face in managing diabetes. The 10-month program – supported by a contribution from AT&T – implemented activities to improve the lives of people living with diabetes by increasing their self-management abilities and raising public awareness about the disease. Project HOPE utilized a comprehensive patient education course called “5 Steps to Self-Care,” a game-based, interactive course using highly visual and easy-to-use materials to provide patients with the knowledge, skills and encouragement to improve their diabetes control.
Project HOPE utilized the 5 Steps program to train multidisciplinary health workers – including doctors, nurses and outreach technicians – who work door-to-door in the community. The 5 Steps program was also effective in training peer educators – people who completed 5 Steps training and demonstrated good improvements in self-management – who then provided community outreach and counseling for others with diabetes or who are at risk.
In 2010, Project HOPE Mexico developed a successful gestational diabetes program that trained primary care health professionals to increase screening for gestational diabetes for pregnant women.
HOPE has maintained a close relationship with Mexico since 1999, when we began HIV/AIDS education programs in marginalized areas of Mexico City. In 2001, the ongoing mission against HIV/AIDS was advanced when Mexico participated in a regional assessment of HIV/AIDS activities in Central America and, as a result, began offering training workshops to countries throughout the region, including Honduras and El Salvador.
Project HOPE also began addressing the growing diabetes epidemic in the country. HOPE developed a diabetes education program for patients and began using the “Training of Trainers” (TOT) strategy to educate health care workers on the chronic disease.
HOPE launched the diabetes awareness and prevention initiative, promoting “Healthy Habits for a Healthy Weight” among school children. The school based program focuses on raising awareness of the link between obesity and type 2 diabetes.
Project HOPE staff on a recent visit to Los Reyes Ixtacala, Mexico encountered a woman who had succeeded with a lasting weight loss and controlled diabetes following Project HOPE’s 5 Steps program.
Diabetes deaths can be prevented. By providing early diagnosis and education, we can reduce complications and help people to live longer, higher quality lives.