Campo Amigo Ecuador Group Photo 2008
Thank you to all of you who so generously donated to AYUDA over the past few months to provide lifesaving education for children living with diabetes in Ecuador!
Throughout the month of July AYUDA worked closely with the FDJE (AYUDA’s partner organization in Quito) to train international and local Ecuadorian youth leaders to prepare them to lead Campo Amigo Ecuador 2008, a youth led diabetes education camping program for youth with Type 1 (juvenile) diabetes.
Prior to the camp AYUDA and the FDJE trained and dispatched teams of youth leaders to the various provinces of Ecuador with the primary objective of reaching as many new children with type 1 diabetes to teach them about the camp and encourage them to participate. Teams were sent to work with local contacts in the following areas of Ecuador:
- Manabí (including Portoviejo, Tosagua, Chone, Montecristi)
- Ambato & Baños
- Cuenca & Loja
- Ibarra & Tulcán
The provincia trips proved successful since over 20 children with diabetes who had never previously been aware of the existence of camp were able to attend for the first time. In total 85 children and young adults from the ages of 4 – 28 attended Campo Amigo Ecuador, held in El Valle de los Chillos, in the outskirts of Quito, Ecuador. The camp was led by a trained medical team with local and international representatives as well as a youth team of counselors of which almost 50% themselves had type 1 diabetes, many of whom were former campers themselves.
At camp every moment was seized as an opportunity for educating the children about how to better manage their condition and how to avoid the long-term (preventable) complications that the disease can cause due to continual mismanaged high blood sugars. Many campers who arrived with high blood sugars (in the 200s & 300s) were able to bring their blood sugars down to the normal blood sugar range of 70 -120mg/dl by the end of the week. Apart from being able to test their blood sugars at least 7 times per day (in order to gain a more in-depth understanding of their overall blood sugar variation) the campers were also taught alternative methods of measuring their blood glucose levels. The alternative methods were taught by Dr Patricia Blanco a doctor from Bolivia and type 1 sufferer herself, and were geared to those campers from the poorest backgrounds. The alternative methods provide sustainable ways of measuring whether your blood sugar is high in the absence of testing strips, a reality for many of the campers from the poorest provinces of Ecuador. Since blood testing strips can be exceptionally expensive for many families, these alternative methods provide an every day solution to managing diabetes for many children with diabetes.
Following Campo Amigo the children returned home to their families throughout Ecuador with take-home information on nutrition, diabetes management and most importantly with support from their counselors and the FDJE. Over the course of the year the campers and counselors will remain in contact with one another and the FDJE to provide a strong support network for the campers.
AYUDA and the FDJE are already hard at work with the local youth leaders planning for the follow-up workshops and provincia visits. The goal is to follow-up with the newest and most at-risk campers and their parents to keep them actively motivated in the control of their blood sugars. With your support we hope to be able to provide an A1c machine (criticial for providing important health data and therefore more specific care) for use on these trips.
Your support is an investment in the diabetes youth community and the youth leaders who are actively trying to bring about change.
Thank you for your continued support.
Juntos somos mas fuertes!