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Pure Life


Initiatives for a healthy life. Nutrition. Exercise. Community.

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Pure Life


Initiatives for a healthy life. Nutrition. Exercise. Community.

health in the city

Most of Arequipa’s over 1 million citizens have access to some form of public heath care. It’s a system that’s living on the edge, doing the bare minimum to care for patients. Conditions are crowded and resources scarce. Doctors don’t have time for education and prevention, and there’s very little follow-up. 

diabetes is on the rise

Poor nutrition and the reality of lifestyle in the city have led to a sharp increase in diabetes. The state of the health care system causes most diabetic patients to fall through the cracks. We partner with a public hospital to carry out a diabetes prevention and screening program, as well as care and education for diabetic patients. 

The situation is urgent

Here’s an example: a diabetic patient we see on a monthly basis came in. This patient takes insulin twice a day, but had just run out. He went to the main regional hospital (the only public hospital that stocks insulin) and was given an appointment to see about getting more insulin—at a date three months in the future! This is the story of one diabetic in a city with tens of thousands suffering from the disease.

It’s more complicated than just access to insulin. It has to do with a healthier lifestyle—better nutrition, more exercise, and community support. We act as a catalyst for these goals, bridging the gap between individuals and the resources that they need to survive and to thrive. 

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Care and education


Care and education


Screening for diabetes opened up the door for follow-up with diabetic patients. In 2015 we started ProCED (a Program for the Care and Education of Diabetics), a play on the Spanish word proceder, meaning “to proceed.” It’s the natural next step and a key piece of holistic wellbeing for people suffering from diabetes. 

We train patients to manage their disease

Each patient receives a Diabetes and Health workbook that we train them to work through. There they can record their blood-sugar readings, keep track of recommended check-ups and labs, and organize suggestions from specialists in nutrition, foot care, mental health, and more. We don’t remove the need to see Peruvian health professionals. 

We empower the patient to know which health professionals to see

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diabetes screening and prevention


diabetes screening and prevention


In 2014 we met with the head of the hospital administration in the district of Hunter in Arequipa to explore options for a partnership. What they told us was surprising.

There was no system in place for identifying patients with diabetes.

So we got to work and implemented a screening process to identify diabetic and pre-diabetic patients. At the same time, we began educating patients on the type of healthy lifestyle that helps avoid diabetes. We partnered with the nutritionist and psychologist at the hospital in order to educate the patients we discovered had diabetes as well as those who were high risk. 

We currently conduct free diabetes screenings three days a week in an exam room that the clinic allows us to use. 

In 2015 we screened 1,000 patients. 140 had diabetes and  Over 300 others had a high level of risk. 

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Support Groups


Supporting and being supported

Support Groups


Supporting and being supported

The final piece of our health development project with diabetics in the Hunter district is all about community. We organize get-togethers at the clinic and other health points around the district and facilitate support groups. Diabetics who have had success adapting their diet to make diabetes more manageable share tips and tricks with those who have been recently diagnosed. 

Patients are empowered to help other patients

While we, the health professionals, do our share of talking and educating, we’ve found that the most helpful voices are those of diabetics themselves. We seek to amplify the voices that are better positioned culturally than we are to communicate effectively with other diabetics. 

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Impact


Reflecting on 2015 and the focus for 2016

Impact


Reflecting on 2015 and the focus for 2016

In 2015 we saw just over 1,000 patients. Of these, 102 already knew they had diabetes. Of those who we screened who did not know if they had diabetes, 10 tested in the diabetic range and 58 more tested in the pre-diabetic range. With the FINDRISC test provided to us by the Centro de Salud Javier Llosa Garcia, 346 patients are considered “high risk.” 

29 enrolled in our ProCED program. Over the course of the year, we did 10 diabetes educational sessions and support group meetings with a total of just over 100 attendees. Topics covered include the basics of diabetes, nutrition, exercise, psychological aspects, medicine, foot care, cardiac health, and glucose control.