Awareness and prevention

In Guinea-Bissau, diabetes remains a little known disease among the population

In Guinea-Bissau, diabetes remains a disease little known by the population. Awareness and prevention campaigns are therefore of paramount importance.

AAPDGB organizes workshops involving the population to explain and prevent the disease. Several topics are covered:

  • The different forms of diabetes: type 1, type 2, gestational diabetes.
  • Signs and symptoms: fatigue, polyuria (urinating frequently), polydipsia (excessive thirst), exaggerated hunger, unexplained weight loss, irritability, blurred vision, repeated infections, tingling fingers and feet.
  • Diabetes prevention: following a healthy and varied diet, practicing physical exercise, avoiding alcohol consumption.
  • Screening: the importance of regularly checking blood sugar levels.

Our impact

In 2019, 6 awareness and prevention workshops were held across 5 different neighborhoods and regions in collaboration with our local partner, ASLUCODIABETES-GB. Each of these campaigns reached between 100 and 150 people.

Fun activities for children

AAPDGB pays particular attention to children and therefore organizes workshops especially for them to raise their awareness through fun activities. A few of them have been organised so far.

On 16 December 2018, all the children in the Pilum district took part in activities and games around the theme of diabetes awareness and prevention. Ms. Géraldina Tomé, nurse at the Simão Mendes National Hospital, used simple illustrations to present the functioning of blood sugar regulation in the body and the consequences on health when the blood sugar level is too high or too low.

On 19 April 2019, a second workshop was organised with the children, facilitated by Nurse Géraldina Tomé. The activities helped them recognise the symptoms of hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia, and introduced the topic of food. The children have been very receptive.

Group meetings for pregnant women

In pregnant women, the risks and complications of diabetes are very significant and can affect the baby as well as the mother. Gestational diabetes is indeed very dangerous, including the risk of death during childbirth. AAPDGB accompanies pregnant diabetic women to improve their health and reduce risks. Every Saturday the association organises group meetings for women to be able to talk and exchange about the disease, and the difficulties encountered during pregnancy. For new arrivals, blood sugar level is checked to confirm their diagnosis and then be referred to the specialized medical unit, that is being created by AAPDGB and by the Geneva University Hospitals (HUG) in collaboration with the Simão Mendes National Hospital, in order to have a doctor’s follow-up. After their consultation, the women are addressed to our partner association ASLUCODIABETES-GB to receive drugs and medical equipment provided by AAPDGB free of charge. They also receive training on how to take the medications, how to use the devices, and what blood sugar level values are considered high, normal and low.

Dietary advice and vegetable garden

Our association together with the ASLUCODIABETES-GB team regularly organize workshops and courses for patients, pregnant women and families aimed at sharing information and dietary advice.

On 15 June 2019, a cooking workshop was organised in the presence of Dr. Nena Naforna, doctor at the Simão Mendes National Hospital, with a focus on how to make meals suitable for diabetic patients.

Dr. Nena Naforna explained the nutritional values of foods, which ingredients are rich in carbohydrates, and how to adapt the consumption of starchy foods for a suitable diet.

On 12 October 2019, a second cooking workshop targeting women was led by Dr. Nena Naforna. The women participated in the presentation of the food. An example of a balanced dish was shown so that they could have an idea of what to eat, how much, and how many times a day. Dr. Nena Naforna and Nurse Géraldina Tomé gave advice on diet and medication intake. Also, they illustrated how to take care of foot wounds caused by diabetes.

In January 2019, land was turned over, prepared and cultivated to create a vegetable garden, which produces green vegetables and sweet potatoes. Vegetables are distributed to families whose children have diabetes, as well as to the Simão Mendes National Hospital. So far, the garden has helped feed 6 diabetic children and hospitalized patients.