Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Towards a Healthy Nueva Vida

Jessenia is our new health promoter! We were able to hire her with two designated gifts and she has been a true gift to the clinic!

She has used her artistic hand in putting up informational signs all up in the clinic and giving the clinic a brighter look.

Mostly she has being organizing health promoters. She has two promoters for each section of Nueva Vida. In the future she will help organize the “green” sections of Nueva Vida, areas where squatter homes have popped up, so that those who are very poor can have access to information and to the clinic.

We have given out emergency first aid kits to the health promoters so that they can clean and bind wounds, give rehydration fluids, and reduce fevers and allergic reactions. We are anxious to see how the community receives this aid and how it all goes.

We have a held a few trainings on diabetes and are looking at doing more. In the future, funding permitting, we hope to have comprehensive education on diabetes…a campaign to reduce sugar intake of children and adults, exercise to reduce weight, and how to use inexpensive food wisely for diabetics.

For the poor sugar is a cheap source of calories…but lots of sugar with no protein wreaks havoc on the pancreas and sets the body up for Type 2 diabetes. Plus the main food for the poor is carbohydrates…white rice, beans, corn, and white bread. Meats are expensive and many vegetables are also expensive. Culturally most fruits are drunk as watered juices with sugar added for flavor. Food in any culture is hard to change (look at the U.S.) and it is even more difficult if money is scarce…but we are looking at ways and we are looking for funding to try.

Our dentist, Inya, is going into schools for oral hygiene awareness raising classes that Jessenia set up. She is giving out toothbrushes and tooth paste and encouraging children to come in for sealants. Obviously with the above mentioned sugar intake, diabetes is not the only resulting health problem!

Then there are HIV/AIDS, family planning, hypertension, asthma, dengue, and malaria…all public health concerns! The list is endless…we are so grateful to have Jessenia on our staff. She has given us all a boost in our spirits. It is exciting, no? -- Kathleen