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Diabetes has haunted Jose since his father’s early death from the chronic disease. So when Jose was confirmed to have complications from diabetes following a screening in rural Peru last March, the father of five vowed to protect his own health.
At the screening, which was a joint project between AmeriCares and Peruvian health partners Peru-VIDA and Piura Fair Trade, doctors saw that Jose had a diabetic foot ulcer and sent him to the local hospital for a skin graft. There, Jose met patients whose legs and feet had been amputated because their diabetes had gone untreated. Once home, Jose attended AmeriCares-sponsored diabetes workshops to learn diet and lifestyle changes to keep the disease under control. Knowing all too well the toll diabetes can take, Jose asked if he could address the workshop. “These are my neighbors and colleagues; they know me and I would not like what has happened to me to happen to them,” he said after his speech had left many in tears.
Collaborating with our Peruvian partners and project sponsor Bristol-Myers Squibb, AmeriCares is currently evaluating this program to contribute to the knowledge base of what works in reducing the risk of diabetes and its complications in rural, low-income settings. This is crucial because diabetes, left untreated, can cause kidney failure.
Peru is just one country where AmeriCares is helping to educate, screen and treat people with this chronic disease. Last year, AmeriCares distributed diabetes medicines to 56 countries worldwide. In the U.S., where an estimated 1.2 million uninsured residents have diabetes, our Chronic Disease Initiative makes educational materials and therapies available for clinics’ low income patients. Many of our 635 U.S. partners also provide their patients with the medicines and supplies we donate.
Learn more about the diabetes project here.Learn more about our work in Peru here.
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