In 2016, CRHP was awarded a grant from the World Diabetes Foundation (WDF) to further our work on a disorder affecting the lives of many in India: diabetes. A common misconception is that diabetes only affects individuals in affluent countries when in fact, it is becoming a global disorder that affects poor and rural communities around the world. In the state of Maharashtra alone, there are 6 million cases of diabetes, 70% of which are thought to go undiagnosed, and an estimated 79.4 million Indians are projected to have diabetes by the year 2030.
In an effort to combat the lack of awareness and care surrounding this disorder in rural India, CRHP has been working to educate Village Health Workers (VHW), adolescents, and communities on diabetes in 30 of our Project Villages. In the first year, we surveyed over 15,000 members and screened almost 2,000 high-risk individuals for type II diabetes to identify diabetes patients in our Project Villages. In addition, 14 sessions on diabetes prevention and management resulted in training 40 VHW, 5 social workers, and the Mobile Health Team (MHT). Our last major milestone of the first year included educating 20 adolescent groups on diabetes principles.
As we moved into our second year working with WDF, we continued our work with adolescents for an accumulated 32 groups. An additional 10 sessions in the CRHP Training Center were administered for VHWs. These classes included the opportunity for VHWs to practice and get feedback on their skits, posters, and diabetes counseling before taking new skills into their respective villages.
The second stage of the grant is different in that it required a transition from surveying the community to involving their participation in community sessions. These sessions aim to teach general knowledge on type II diabetes as well as prevention and management strategies in all of our Project Villages. The MHT and VHWs have already conducted initial community sessions in all 30 Project Villages. These first sessions began with a song about diabetes and a puppet show followed by two visual poster presentations to explain the basics of diabetes, taught by the VHWs. The sessions ended with an opportunity for high-risk community members and individuals with diabetes to check their glucose level with the help of the MHT.
Looking forward, as we continue our community-based sessions and Adolescent Programs over the next six months, the MHT will be less involved in community sessions as the VHWs prepare to take the stage. Our new milestones include 1) continuing community sessions in our 30 villages with additional monitoring and evaluation methods to assess curriculum impact 2) hosting an additional 10 adolescent groups on campus 3) conducting another 10 VHW sessions that will focus on practical diabetes management and prevention methods with special attention to nutrition and physical activity 4) working with VHWs on counseling techniques to convince community members of the importance of medication and regular check-ups.