Background: The burden of chronic, non-communicable diseases such as diabetes is growing rapidly in low- and middle-income countries. Implementing management programs for diabetes and other chronic diseases for underserved populations is thus a critical global health priority. However, there is a notable dearth of shared programmatic and outcomes data from diabetes treatment programs in these settings.
Program description: We describe our experiences as a non-governmental organization designing and implementing a type 2 diabetes program serving Maya indigenous people in rural Guatemala. We detail the practical challenges and solutions we have developed to build and sustain diabetes programming in this setting.
Methods: We conduct a retrospective chart review from our electronic medical record to evaluate our program's performance. We generate a cohort profile, assess cross-sectional indicators using a framework adapted from the literature, and report on clinical longitudinal outcomes.
Results: A total of 142 patients were identified for the chart review. The cohort showed a decrease in hemoglobin A1C from a mean of 9.2% to 8.1% over an average of 2.1 years of follow-up (p <0.001). The proportions of patients meeting glycemic targets were 53% for hemoglobin A1C < 8% and 32% for the stricter target of hemoglobin A1C < 7%.
Conclusion: We first offer programmatic experiences to address a gap in resources relating to the practical issues of designing and implementing global diabetes management interventions. We then present clinical data suggesting that favorable diabetes outcomes can be attained in poor areas of rural Guatemala.