After a two and a half year hiatus due to the pandemic, we are excited to once again host our "Club de Diabeticos" (Diabetes Club)! The Diabetes Club provides a special day when those dealing with diabetes and high blood pressure can come to Mission Guatemala's clinic for their checkup and any needed treatment, as well as social interaction and education about this disease.
Diabetes has consistently been the most common issue encountered in patients that come to Mission Guatemala's clinic, and continues to be a growing issue throughout the country. Dr. Lidia Balán formed the Diabetes Club in 2016 when she first began as our clinic doctor, with the goal of providing a place where diabetes patients could gather together to learn more about the disease and how to manage it, as well as to receive their medicines for the month at an affordable price.
When it first began, the diabetes club was only a half-day event, but we have now set aside an entire day each month in order to better serve the increased number of people who have begun to participate! By coming to the Diabetes Club, patients do not have to arrive at the clinic in the early morning in order to get in line to be seen, as is normally required at the clinic. At the start of each Diabetes Club, participant's vital signs such as blood pressure, temperature, oxygen saturation, heart rate, blood sugar levels and weight are taken, and, based on this information, any needed laboratory testing is done and treatments such as IVs are administered.
After the lab testing and treatments, Dr. Lidia or one of the other clinic staff provides an informative and motivational talk to help patients better understand the disease, as well as ways to manage it. Topics almost always include a review of the various "pillars of treatment," such as the importance of a regular check-up, the importance of drinking 8 glasses of water per day, the importance of participating in physical exercises and various forms of exercise, and the appropriate foods to eat and when it is best to eat them. Games are often played in order to help create a fun and interactive environment, giving the patients the opportunity to clear their heads through movement and laughter.
At the end of the day, each patient is given any needed medication for the following month, along with vitamins and a healthy snack. By dedicating this day each month to diabetic and hypertensive patients, our hope is that they will be empowered to live a more healthy and happy life!
Dra. Lidia says, "I am happy that we are able to begin the Diabetics Club again, after having had to suspend it due to the pandemic. All possible measures are being taken to provide efficient and loving care to our patients who need it so much—not only in the community of San Andrés, but also those from more distant places that know of this clinic."
At the Diabetes Club in July there were 20 diabetes patients in attendance, in August 18 patients came, and at yesterday's Diabetes Club, 25 patients were able to attend! As word continues to spread of the Diabetes Club being held once again, we hope many more who suffer from diabetes will be able to attend in order to receive treatment and support!
If you would like to support the work of this vital program, we invite you to click here!
To see more photos from the Diabetes Club, click here!