Bridge of Life (BOL) wrapped up the first quarter of 2019 with several chronic disease prevention medical missions where our volunteers screened participants for hypertension, diabetes and kidney disease and provided prevention education to promote healthier lifestyles.
In March, our team of six DaVita Kidney Care and two DaVita Colombia teammates screened 490 men, women and children who reside in the La Democracia, Escuintla Department in southern Guatemala in partnership with Fundanier. La Democracia has the highest incidence of renal disease out of all rural areas in Guatemala, which may be the result of a concentration of volcanoes in this region that emit pollutants like mercury, arsenic and lead and contaminate local drinking water aquifers.
"Our screenings either provided peace of mind and relief to participants whose results were within normal range or quality education to improve their health, particularly how to control blood pressure and diabetes, ultimately 'bridging the [health] gap' on how to protect their kidneys," said Anisa Gandhi, volunteer and Home Program Manager, DaVita.
In partnership with Global Livingston Institute and Reach a Hand Uganda, our eight DaVita Kidney Care and two DaVita Portugal teammate volunteers screened 1,327 individuals in Kampala, Masaka and Kabale in April during the iKnow Concert Series, an annual event that celebrates music and the arts and promotes public health, economic development and culture sharing in Uganda.
Maryam Ashtiani, volunteer and Dietitian, DaVita, said, "Our goal was to reach out to as many people as possible and to screen and educate them for free...I know we touched many people's lives on this mission, but what is true is how much they impacted our souls and the cores of our beings."
In April, our team of six DaVita Kidney Care and two DaVita Portugal teammate volunteers traveled to Abuja where they screened 1,644 individuals in conjunction with other healthcare services provided by in- country partner, the Association of Nigerian Physicians in the Americas.
"For me, the most important thing was understanding the situation of each person, " said Carolina Luis, volunteer and Nurse, DaVita Portugal. "I know that I can't change the whole world, but, every day, I gave a little bit of myself and I got a lot from them. I am immensely grateful for it."