Diabetes, Diabetes, Diabetes

Diabetes, Diabetes, Diabetes: On The Road Again

In May this year, Volta Aid Foundation was the recipient of a $3,000 USD grant from the Rotary Club of Ashgrove / The Gap in Brisbane, Australia, to conduct Diabetes & Hypertension outreaches. These outreaches, conducted in partnership with the Rotary Club of Ho, have continued to educate communities about the effects of diabetes and how to live a healthy life. Over the past three months we travelled to the rural Volta Region communities of Vakpo, Tsito, Adaklu-Sikaman, Abutia-Kloe and Abutia-Agorve, as well as participated in the annual Rotary Health Day in Ho-Ahoe, and screened around 1,100 people.

So influential have these outreaches been, the we were invited by Nurse Theresah in the Central Region of Ghana to conduct an outreach with her community of Senya Beraku. In what was the first ever outreach held outside the Volta Region, the outreach team travelled most of the day to cover the 250 kilometres and spent a night in the seaside community. The following day we educated the community about diabetes, tested over 200 people, and offered ongoing support to Nurse Theresah if she is able to set up a small diabetes clinic in the community.

These outreaches resulted in some key findings for diabetes in Ghana that have been presented to the Nurses at the Diabetes Ward of the Ho Municipal Hospital:

  • More females than males attended. Even though women are self-employed and work as much as men, this finding indicates that women take their family health seriously and, even though the average age was high, many brought along dependants for screening.
  • 10.7% of people recorded high/low blood sugar levels, indicating the possible presence of diabetes. This is higher than the official Diabetes rate in Ghana which is 6%. All of those that showed signs of diabetes were unaware of what diabetes is and did not know that they were at risk. The need for these outreaches is evident and equal importance must be given not to just screening, but of information giving and providing referrals to nearby hospitals or clinics.
  • Abnormally high blood sugar levels were recorded at every outreach.¬†This included levels of 15 at Abuti-Agorve, Abutia-Kloe and Adaklu-Sikaman, while Senya Beraku recorded a patient with a reading of 19, Vakpo 19.4 and Tsito 20.8. These levels represent a critical reading whereby a person is in immediate danger. Blood pressure levels were also taken at the outreaches and many elderly people displayed abnormally high levels and were given specialised information on managing high blood pressure and leading a healthy lifestyle.

We would like to thank Priscilla for volunteering her time to help us on some of these outreaches and putting her nursing skills into practice, all those Rotarians who helped with the outreaches along the way and also to our very own Volta Aid Foundation volunteers, Marissa and Ellen, who helped us implement most of these over the past three months.