Fighting Chronic Disease in Brazil, Mexico and Argentina

As the American Heart Association celebrates National Wear Red Day to raise awareness about women’s risk for heart disease and stroke today, The Resource Foundation (TRF) turns its attention to local partner organizations across Latin America and the Caribbean who address chronic disease prevention and awareness in their daily efforts and outreach.

According to the World Bank, the occurrence of chronic diseases has steadily increased throughout Latin America and the Caribbean in the past 20 years; an unhealthy lifestyle (i.e. inadequate diet, physical inactivity, tobacco use and high alcohol consumption) and a general lack of information regarding the relationship between these behaviors and conditions like obesity, diabetes and heart disease are strong contributing factors.

Longstanding TRF corporate partner Johnson & Johnson includes the prevention of chronic conditions and affiliated support programs as a core component of its philanthropic giving strategy in Latin America and the Caribbean. By addressing both the risk and stigma associated with chronic conditions, Johnson & Johnson supports locally led initiatives that increase access for vulnerable individuals and communities to integrated solutions and enhanced self-care. The exemplary projects highlighted below showcase how a comprehensive and inclusive approach to different types of chronic illnesses can drastically improve the quality of life for both patients and their families.

TRF local partner Fundaçao Francisco Arduino (FUNDAR) works in Rio de Janeiro with young diabetes patients and their parents to enhance the understanding of Type 1 Diabetes and proper care and health practices specific to a diabetic’s needs. While parents gain awareness on suitable diets, acute and chronic complications, insulin management and related topics, afflicted youth are exposed to similar information through art and theater. This strategy recognizes the role that a family plays in the health of its children, and so includes parents in workshops as a way to ensure that acquired knowledge is also reinforced at home. One mother shares her views on how the program has not only helped her son to manage his diabetes, but to grow and develop as a young man:

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES“I saw how this could help my son’s treatment…being around other youth that have the same difficulties as him. At the play, I could see that he had grown a lot (through this program), and that he would be able to develop and continue growing, despite his diabetes; he can do anything and everything by controlling it.” – Ana Paula, mother of FUNDAR youth participant

To the northwest in Mexico City, TRF partner Fundación Feliz y Saludable Diego, A.C, provides early stimulation and rehabilitation activities as well as essential surgeries and follow-up to infants and young children suffering from congenital hydrocephalus, a condition that is characterized by a build-up of excess brain fluid and that usually causes the baby’s head to swell.By working to also educate the health community and local familiesChronic Diseases_collage about the symptoms and importance of early detection, this organization is helping to ensure healthy psychomotor development in children born with this condition. This ultimately permits affected children like Ronaldo (shown here, now age 6) to grow up strong and to have a new chance at life.

Engaging patients, families and local healthcare professionals is a similar strategy executed in the Buenos Aires province by TRF partner Asociación Civil para el Enfermo de Psoriasis (AEPSO). As its name suggests, the organization facilitates awareness-raising activities and workshops to challenge the stigma associated with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. By enlisting local volunteers to lead information dissemination activities, AEPSO greatly increases the scope and reach of its projects.

Visit Johnson & Johnson’s corporate donor profile page to learn more about their work with TRF throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.

 

By Christina Mellace, TRF Program Reporting Manager