14. Sep 2015

Peru launches national level diabetes programme

Gwendolyn Carleton
New programme will improve diabetes care in six urban areas of Peru including the capital city of Lima.
(From left) Vice-Minister of Health Percy Minaya, PAHO Peru Country Representative Raúl González, Minister of Health Aníbal Velásquez, and WDF Managing Director Anders Dejgaard at the launch of the new diabetes programme in Lima, Peru.
A new programme working to strengthen diabetes care and prevention in urban areas across Peru was launched last week during a ceremony at the Peruvian Ministry of Health national headquarters in Lima. 
The programme, WDF14-929 ‘Diabetes Network Action’, will be implemented through a partnership between the Ministry of Health, the Pan-American Health Organisation (known as PAHO or the WHO Regional Office for the Americas), and the World Diabetes Foundation (WDF).
The launch ceremony was attended by the Minister of Health Aníbal Velásquez, PAHO Peru Country Office representative Raúl González and more than 50 leading representatives and officials from the Ministry of Health, from the Peruvian health system and from civil society. WDF was represented at the event by Managing Director Anders Dejgaard and Senior Programme Coordinator Bent Lautrup-Nielsen.
In his inauguration speech, Aníbal Velásquez thanked WDF for the support. The new programme is important for its concise focus on capacity building within diabetes care at primary level and, not least, its potential as a model programme to be replicated nationwide as a permanent health policy of Peru, he said.
Anders Dejgaard added, “This national level programme promises to bring substantial progress to diabetes care and prevention in Peru, a country with a high and increasing burden from diabetes and its complications. WDF is honoured and devoted to become a partner to Peru in the fight against diabetes.”
The new programme will focus on comprehensive capacity building of 60 primary health care level facilities, and a one-year university level diploma course in diabetes care will be established in collaboration with the leading medical and nursing schools of Peru. 
The targeted health facilities will be located in urbanised areas in six different regions of Peru. Half the facilities targeted will be in Lima, which has a diabetes prevalence approaching 10% of the adult population and where more than 25% of residents live below the poverty line. Peru has seen rapid urbanisation in recent years, and today almost a third of its 30-million inhabitants live in Lima. One of the other cities targeted, Iquitos, is located in the Amazon region of Peru and is partially inhabited by indigenous groups.
Windows of opportunity
The new national level programme partnership grew from a WDF visit to Peru in March 2014 and from subsequent dialogue and negotiations with the Peruvian Ministry of Health and PAHO. The Ministry of Health will be responsible for programme implementation and PAHO Peru Country Office will provide coordination, technical support and evaluation. A comprehensive monitoring framework has also been outlined, and WDF will visit Peru regularly to participate in assessment missions.
To WDF, national level diabetes programmes represent a window of opportunity, Bent Lautrup-Nielsen says. They can mobilise the resources countries need to begin or continue implementing national strategies within diabetes and NCDs on the ground, preferably at primary care level. 
“National level programmes are important to WDF, because the funding and technical experience we provide as a foundation are integrated into the strongest possible local framework, led by the Ministry of Health. This significantly increases the likelihood of sustainable outcomes," he says.
“In the case of Peru, the Ministry of Health had requested an initial two-year trajectory of the programme,” he adds. “However, the options for a longstanding partnership are promising, and our efficient and valuable collaboration with PAHO will be instrumental to the process.”
The WDF currently supports several national level diabetes programmes worldwide in Latin America, Africa and Asia/The Pacific, and more programmes are expected to be launched during the coming time.