New Diabetes/Hypertension Curriculum in Development

For nearly a year now, a resource group of PCP Medical Ambassadors have been in discussion with their Congolese counterparts to address the growing number of cases of diabetes and hypertension in northwest DR Congo. The Diabetes/Hypertension group has been researching and developing a new training program to be introduced in 2023.  Julie Malyon RN and Esther Li-Bland MD located in the US head up this effort to explore solutions from two angles of these issues:

  1. Doctors are collaboratively seeking appropriate protocols for treating diabetes and hypertension in Congo.
  2. Nurses are collaboratively seeking culturally sensitive ways to educate patients on managing their disease and making lifestyle changes.

The challenge is significant in the context of northwest DR Congo where unreliable medicine and medical supplies, limited food options, and poverty influence viable solutions. Julie traveled to DR Congo in September 2022 to gather information on current practices and treatment from her Congolese counterparts. 

Before she left, Julie reached out to Direct Relief, a nonprofit that provides donations of medical resources to teams of healthcare providers and volunteers traveling overseas to provide medical care to medically underserved communities. Direct Relief was able to provide important medicines and supplies to treat patients in DR Congo. In Julie’s report, she shares,

”Diabetes is a serious and dire diagnosis to receive when living in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Medications are scarce and expensive, and life expectancy is greatly decreased by diabetes. The patients I spoke to in focus groups stated that they thought, “I am going to die soon,” when they received their diagnosis. One young woman I met shared that her husband left her after she was diagnosed with diabetes. Since he left her, now she has even more difficulty being able to harvest enough food to feed her family. She has not been able to purchase medication to manage her diabetes. With the shipment of medications from Direct Relief, she will now have a reliable source of medications for the coming months. She is grateful to have the medication that will help her feel better so she can work in her garden to support her family.”

Over the next several months, the Diabetes/Hypertension resource group in the US will be developing curriculum to train healthcare workers and to educate diabetic patients in how to improve their health and manage diabetes.

If you would like more information about their work or are interested in joining the resource group, please email Craig Anderson, Director of Medical & Health Programs or call (773) 907-3309.

Posted in Congo health, Medical Ambassadors, PCP Update.

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