Wuqu' Kawoq

Wuqu' Kawoq's mission is to address the barriers to excellent health care that the majority of Guatemala's indigenous Maya population face, including principally the lack of access to health care in their own languages. As such, Wuqu' Kawoq develops primary care and health programs within a larger context of community vitality, family stability,and Mayan language revitalization.
May 17, 2010

Updates on diabetes work

Wuqu
Wuqu' Kawoq staff making diabetes housecalls.

Did you know that, by contributing to Wuqu' Kawoq's adult diabetes treatment programs in Guatemala, you are participating in a paradigm shift? Previously in Guatemala, there has been very little attention to the treatment of chronic diseases, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and kidney disease. However, as antibiotics and other lifesaving technologies now prevent most deaths from infectious disease, Guatemalans are living longer and the rates of chronic diseases are rising rapidly. These chronic diseases, although they do not kill immediately, cause disability and impact the financial and emotional security of families.

Wuqu' Kawoq is pioneering a model of health care delivery in Guatemala that includes the comprehensive treatment of chronic diseases, and you all are a part of it!

This month, one of our physicians was in Guatemala to perform a review of the diabetes program and see patients. He reports that things are going well. The program is now functioning in three highland Kaqchikel towns and we are regularly seeing over 60 diabetics, which is more than our goal of 50 patients for this Global Giving Project. This may small like a small number of patients, but in fact is an impressive logistical and financial committment to the wellbeing of these patients, who will need to be followed for their entire lives.

Thank your continued support of the project. As we move into the summer months, we would like to expand the number of patients we are able to serve, however this depends on the generousity of supporters like you! We ask that you consider continuing to support this project, either through a one-time gift or by registering to make a small regular monthly donation.

Even if you cannot support this project financially at this time, we ask that you support us in other important ways, such as forwarding project information to friends and family, posting links to the project on Facebook or your personal website, etc.

As always, we welcome your comments and suggestions.

Diabetes patient relaxing in Wuqu
Diabetes patient relaxing in Wuqu' Kawoq clinic.

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Feb 15, 2010

Updates on Diabetes

Dear friends, I have just returned from Guatemala, where I had the chance to interact with many of the diabetics enrolled in our program.

I am happy to report that all are content with the program and most are achieving great diabetes control. The last several months have seen great success in improving the dietary and nutritional aspects of the program. As a result our patients state that they feel healthy and well, with renewed energy for work and family life.

Recently we have accepted several new diabetic patients into the program with long-standing disease. Although they have had diabetes for decades, with us they are experiencing for the first time having their blood sugars in a normal range. For most, they failed to achieve blood sugar control previously due to the high cost of the medication.

Now, however, through the generous support of you, our program sponsors, we are able to offer these medications free of charge -- in effect, cutting the direct link between poverty and poor health outcomes for diabetics here in Guatemala. We are deeply grateful to you all, and we hope that you will continue to support our work in the coming months.

Dec 8, 2009

Diabetes - Updates from the Field

2009 has been a great year for our diabetes work in Guatemala! Thanks to the generous support of our donors and sponsors, we are now providing comprehensive diabetes care to 50 Kaqchikel-speaking adults in three highland Guatemalan towns.

In October and November, we completed a comprehensive medical evaluation of all patients and we are happy to report that nearly all are achieving excellent control of their diabetes. In particular, in 2009, we were able to bring on board expert nutritionists from major Boston-area hospitals, which has allowed us to intensify the educational and nutritional portions of the program.

Additionally, we were able systematically to apply hemoglobin A1C surveillance for all our patients. Although this testing is not inexpensive, it is state-of-the-art for monitoring diabetes treatment and significantly more accurate than simply measuring blood sugar levels. To our knowledge, we are running the first diabetes project in Guatemala that routinely utilizes A1C testing, meaning that our patients are receiving a higher standard of care previously unavailable to them.

Finally, in 2009, we were able to secure a local supply of insulin at competitive rates, which means that the few patients we have that require insulin are now able to benefit from this treatment, which was previously almost prohibitively expensive.

As always, all diabetes medications, insulin, lab testing, and other necessary supplies are provided to our patients free of any charge.

In a November visit to San Juan Comalapa, we interacted with 20 long-standing diabetes patients. They all expressed gratitude for the program. They stated that they have not felt so well in many years. Many now have the energy and strength to return to work or to fulfill their domestic obligations. As a result, by treating diabetes, we are also have a positive impact on the economic security and stability of many local families. By treating 50 diabetics, we estimate that we are positively impacting over 300 lives.

As always, this work would not be possible without the generous support of our donors, and so we extremely grateful to all of you. We ask that you continue to consider us in your giving. We are anxious to hear from you, and we would be most happy to respond to any feedback or comments that you have for us.

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