About the Foundation
The aim of our foundations is to help young people build the skills to succeed in the complicated world in which they find themselves. In Chile and Peru our principal projects are Education based, but here in Paraguay we have focused on health care for adolescents and young mothers.
Key attributes of any project we work in is that it is sustainable, replicable and of a high impact and we believe that the best way to achieve this is by building human capital. So much of our focus is on training and skills development with local professionals.
In Paraguay we have concentrated on 2 projects: adolescent sexual health and pre-eclampsia. This newsletter will focus on Pre-eclampsia.
WHAT IS PRE-ECLAMPSIA?
Pre-eclampsia is the most common of the serious complications of pregnancy and is caused by a defect in the placenta. We do not fully understand the cause of the disease, but our knowledge is advancing all the time. There are, however, well -established treatments for the condition. Pre-eclampsia is a multi-system disorder, which can affect many parts of the body including the liver, kidneys, brain and blood clotting system. Sometimes it is life threatening to both mother and baby.
At least 25% of maternal deaths in Paraguay are due to this disease. Pre-eclampsia normally occurs in the second half of pregnancy, typically after 28 weeks. In its early stages it is symptomless and is detectable only by regular antenatal checks on the mother’s blood pressure and urine. Our pilot project at UNA aims to identify patients at high risk of pre-eclampsia and give them prophylactic medication in an attempt to prevent its onset. This will also allow early identification of patients with pre-eclampsia and allow doctors to initiate timely treatment and monitoring.
DR. BATAGLIA AT THE PRE-ECLAMPSIA ASSOCIATION IN THE UK
Our work with pre-eclampsia started in June 2017. Professor Dr. Ramón Bataglia, Jefe de Cátedra y Servicio de Clinica Gineco-obstetrica FCM- UNA, was invited by the Foundation to attend various courses and seminars in the UK. In the opportunity, he gave a speech at the Royal Society of Pre-Eclampsia in London, which was warmly received, and the Society offered their support for our project in Asunción.
PRE- ECLAMPSIA TRAINING ATUNIVERSIDAD NACIONAL DE ASUNCIÓN
The Foundation’s health advisor Professor Dr. Carol Lole Harris organized for two doctors to visit from the UK, to teach on the latest and research and WHO guidelines and best practices in use in the UK and Europe and practical sessions on diagnosing and treating pre-eclampsia.
RESOURCES NECESSARY TO COMBAT THE DISEASE
Fundamental to rapid detection of the illness are urine test strips, that can give an immediate indication of protein in the urine and good accurate blood pressure monitoring.
Our special thanks to Williams Medical Supplies for providing urine strips at cost and Action on Pre-Eclampsia UK for the innovative, easy to use blood pressure monitors.
Treatment in the early stages involves taking a calcium supplement and low level of Aspirin, both of which are available in the outpatients clinic free of charge.
STORIES FROM THE PROJECT
“Without a doubt, the project is having a positive impact on everyone involved. First of all, for all the clinical staff it is very valuable to have access to the latest scientific research and be involved in an evidence based project, targeting pre-eclampsia.
Secondly, the benefits extend to all users of the service. For the patients it is much easier. Their lab results are instantly available, and medicine to help combat the illness is given free of charge and they take the blood pressure machine home with them, so there is no need to continually visit the pharmacy or clinic for blood pressure monitoring.
All this translates into saved lives for mothers and children who otherwise would have been at risk of suffering the consequences of this serious illness. The patients have been incredibly grateful. They feel more supported and secure during this important phase of their lives“.
(image above: A kind note of thanks from someone who has been supported by the project).
Dr Gustavo Britez
Jefe de Residentes del Servicio de Clinica Gineco-obstétrica del Hospital de Clinicas.