On July 25, 2016, FWWH Board member Marcella Hardy-Peterson and Kim Robbins, a volunteer, departed for Managua, Nicaragua. The purpose of the trip was to commence the Foundation’s Type I Juvenile Diabetes education initiative in Nicaragua.
Our goal was to educate the country’s health care professionals (doctors, nurses, and para-professionals) and parents of juvenile diabetics on the various aspects of recognition and care of Juvenile Diabetes. We prepared a draft “quick reference guide” in Spanish to assist with this education initiative.
On July 26, we joined Dr. Frederico Narvaez, an endocrinologist from the country’s national children’s hospital, for an all-day presentation at UNICA for 50 parents of diabetic children.
On July 27, the same conference and topics were repeated for 45 attendees from Matagalpa and other outlying areas of Nicaragua.
We made a presentation to 100+ dental and medical students on July 28 at UNICA concentrating on disease recognition, hypoglycemia, and treatment options.
Traveling to Matagalpa on July 29th, we presented our program to 40 fourth-year medical students from UNAN-Managua, 8 parents, and 2 pediatric physicians about the psychological components and obstacles to treatment. We also discussed the prospect for a 'student-run, doctor led' clinic at Matagalpa similar to our New Hope Free Clinic run by dental students from Loma Linda University Dental School in Redlands, California, and led by doctors from our Foundation. Upon departing Matagalpa, we left them with some much needed, diabetic supplies.
We are proposing a 2-year collaborative project called “Two Drops for Hope” to determine if Type I diabetic children can be successfully treated with a 2 strip-a-day monitoring protocol in the poorer areas of Nicaragua where affordability is an issue. Essentially in these areas, diabetic children go untreated and suffer an early death. Our test would involve 100 diabetic children in 5 different, outlying areas. Components to the study would include: Education, Nutrition & Exercise, Psychological Support, and Study Documentation. We are proposing that this study would be coordinated and led with the Ministry of Health, Dr. Narvaez, Marcella Hardy-Peterson, parent association representatives, a representative from UNICA and others.
On July 30th, we returned to the United States with increased hopes of helping improve Type I diabetic care for children in Nicaragua.
Our next Nicaragua trip will November 7-13, 2016.M
Marcella Hardy-Peterson, DNP