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.