Diabetes Outreaches

Officially, diabetes in Ghana affects 6% of the population however the President of the National Diabetes Association estimates that it's likely 2-3 times higher, impacting more than 4million.

With close to a quarter of Ghana’s population overweight, particularly in the post-40 bracket, diabetes is causing severe and damaging health complications and is a silent killer.

Several barriers to adequate management of diabetes have been recorded, including limited health professionals trained to provide diabetes care, expensive medicines and essential diabetes products, and a complete absence of knowledge of the causes of diabetes and its complications.

Disturbingly, 80% of cases remain undiagnosed in part due to systemic poverty that exists amongst the patients and the centralization of diabetes services. From the outset, it was identified that the vast majority of the patients were new patients who were referred to the ward without any knowledge of diabetes.

This alarming realisation led to the development of the pioneering diabetes outreach project. Through education, knowledge and empowerment - we owe this service to humanity and to the people of the Volta region. Assisting in a variety of ways, we help people achieve outcomes that change their lives.

The aim of these outreaches is to increase awareness of diabetes and encourage regular screening, a healthy lifestyle and a balanced diet. Since 2011 VAF has undertaken countless outreaches in urban and rural communities throughout the Volta Region and screened over 10,000 people.

Each outreach involves four key activities that are offered completely free of charge for those community members:

  1. Blood pressure testing
  2. Blood sugar level testing
  3. Diabetes, lifestyle and diet information
  4. Referrals to the Ho Municipal Hospital Diabetes Ward with follow-up visits paid for by VAF

These outreaches have been conducted in conjunction with the Rotaract Club of Ho as well as the Rotary Club of Ho. Nurses from the Ho Municipal Hospital or other clinics join the outreaches to provide expert medical advice to the beneficiaries. This mobilisation of members of the local community has led to the outreaches becoming well known and sought after and have helped people take control of their own lives, rather than rely on ‘outside’ help. They have played an essential role in increasing the awareness of diabetes which has resulted in attendance rates at the diabetes ward increasing dramatically.

 

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