Pilot Project: Prevention and Control of Diabetes in Indigenous Peoples in Bolivia, WDF15-1274

The project aims to improve prevention and care of diabetes among indigenous peoples in two areas in Bolivia.

The indigenous peoples of Latin America are suffering from alarming levels of diabetes. In some indigenous communities, diabetes has reached epidemic proportions and is endangering the very existence of the communities. Throughout the world, more than 50% of indigenous adults above the age of 35 years suffer from type 2 diabetes.

The indigenous peoples experience a multitude of challenges. One is climate change, which increases their vulnerability by impacting the levels of production of healthy foods. Other difficulties faced by these communities in gaining access to health services are marginalisation and racism. In this context, indigenous peoples have the highest rates of non-communicable diseases due to lifestyle changes, primarily changes in diet, and in poor access to health care.

In light of this situation, intercultural policies, combined with other economic and social strategies, have been driving changes across all levels of society that are enabling other, different models for management of health, with the participation of the beneficiaries themselves, civil society and indigenous organisations as part of an approach based on Intercultural Health.


Improve access and care in the treatment of indigenous male and female patients at risk and with diabetes in Bolivia, in the indigenous populations in Machareti, Tarabuco (Department of Chuquisaca), Apolobamba and Achacachi (Department of La Paz).


The project will be carried out in departments of Chuquisaca and La Paz, both with a strong presence of indigenous peoples, and will apply an intercultural and multisectoral approach within a global, regional and national policy framework. The aim is to promote healthy life styles and prevention among indigenous peoples in Bolivia.

Activities include:

Increase diabetes awareness in the target population through various events and channels. These include distributing materials, training traditional doctors, broadcasting radio/tv programmes and establishing networks of indigenous journalists, but also supporting trade of traditional foods, establishing school programmes promoting traditional foods and coordination with relevant UN agencies.

Training of both medical and traditional health care professionals involved with the indigenous communities through an intercultural approach to prevention, care and treatment of diabetes among indigenous populations.

Establishing a national partner network linking health facilities and the education sector in indigenous communities through collaborative agreements; strengthening the National System of Health Information including provision of statistical data on selected clinical outcomes of care to indigenous peoples with diabetes.

Implementation of research activities to expand knowledge about diabetes in indigenous peoples and to disseminate results through national and regional networks.

Hosting of a final workshop involving PAHO facilitation to share results and experiences of the pilot project with relevant organisations from five countries in the region and to discuss possibilities for replication.

Expected results

  • 7,000 indigenous peoples reached through awareness activities
  • 200 medical HCPs trained; 77 traditional HCPs trained
  • 500 students and teachers of indigenous peoples sensitised
  • Healthy food producing activities provided to at least 2,000 indigenous men and women
  • Visibility of data on indigenous peoples with diabetes and the indigenous population at risk of diabetes enhanced

Project information

Project nr.: 
Project Status: 
Interventions and focus areas: 
Primary focus area: 
South and Central America
Address of head office: 
Fund for the Development of the Indigenous Peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean (The Indigenous Fund)
Project responsible: 
Pedro Santiago Posadas Arango
Project start date: 
2016 to 2018
Project budget: 
USD 293.063
WDF contribution: 
USD 200.600

Expected results

  • 7,000 indigenous peoples reached through awareness activities
  • 200 medical HCPs trained; 77 traditional HCPs trained
  • 500 students and teachers of indigenous peoples sensitised
  • 2,000 indigenous men and women receive technical assistance on healthy food producing activities