23. Mar 2015

In Paraguay, a systematic approach to chronic disease

Gwendolyn Carleton
‘Chronic care model’ aims to prevent complications from diabetes and other chronic diseases by increasing the focus on primary care.
Dr. Maria Teresa Barán (left) speaking at the launch event on 19 March. “A person with a chronic disease provided adequate care can live a perfectly normal life,” she said.
About 50 government officials, medical society and patient representatives and health professionals gathered at the Paraguay Ministry of Health in the capital of Asunción Thursday to launch a new programme through which a more systematic approach to chronic disease care will be implemented. 
Called the ‘Chronic Care Model’, the programme’s targets are the reduction of morbidity and mortality of diabetes, hypertension and other chronic diseases by providing comprehensive care to patients, strengthening services, and promoting healthy habits.
The first phase will be a 3-year programme to take place in three of the country’s provincial health regions, Caaguazú, Itapúa and Ñeembucú, which represent around one million people (15% of Paraguay’s population.) It aims to provide improved access to care to approximately 160,000 people, and to reach up to 400,000 people through community sensitisation and awareness activities. 
The programme is fully owned by the Paraguay Ministry of Health and considered integral to its recently launched National Action Plan on NCDs 2014-2024, and it is supported by key local stakeholders including the Paraguay Endocrinology Society (SPE) and Paraguay Diabetes Foundation (FUPADI). 
The World Diabetes Foundation contributes substantial financial and technical support. The project will be implemented in a triangular framework with the Pan-American Health Organisation (PAHO), the regional WHO office for the Americas, which provides important technical and administrative support through its representation in Paraguay. See WDF13-795 for details.
Strengthen and mobilise
Dr. Maria Teresa Barán, Paraguay’s Deputy Minister of Health, explained the project’s importance at the launch event.
“We have to prevent complications from chronic diseases. A person with a chronic disease provided adequate care can live a perfectly normal life,” she said. “Every citizen of Paraguay should be able to access public health care before complications occur, complications which can lead to permanent disabilities and mortality. With strengthened primary care units and through mobilisation of communities it will be possible to achieve these goals."
Other guests at the launch on 19 March included Dr. Felicia Cañete, Director of the ministry’s NCD Department; Mr.Bent Lautrup-Nielsen, Senior Programme Coordinator from the World Diabetes Foundation; Dr. Gilda Benitez, Director of Paraguay’s National Diabetes Programme; and Dr. Angel Manuel Valdés, acting PAHO/WHO Representative to Paraguay. 
Officials from PAHO/WHO, the Paraguay Society of Endocrinology, Paraguay Diabetes Foundation, and others also attended the event.
Related information: