Somaliland Diabetic and Hypertension Association

We met an inspirational young woman today. Zamzam Jama recently graduated as a  nurse from EAUH. Whilst undertaking her nursing training, Zamzam was struck by the high rates of diabetes and hypertension in the community served by the hospital. She observed the great frequency with which people were receiving a diagnosis of chronic disease, yet also saw that the patients themselves did not have the tools to manage their condition. Zamzam responded by establishing the Somaliland Diabetes and Hypertension Association.

Zamzam (right) with Suad Aden (nurse from Southmead Hospital in Bristol) and Amran Huseein
Zamzam (right) with Suad Aden (nurse from Southmead Hospital in Bristol) and Amran Hussein

The easy part in management of chronic disease is the initial diagnosis. Engaging patients in long term treatment is much harder. Zamzam observed that patients given a diagnosis of, for example, hypertension, were prescribed antihypertensive treatment, but only took the pills until they ran out, anticipating a cure. Patients then failed to turn up for further treatment unless complications arose, for instance myocardial infarction.

Zamzam has developed her own vision of how to help such patients understand their diagnosis and therefore be enabled to manage their own condition. Using her own free time and supporting the project with her own earnings, Zamzam has established the Somaliland Diabetes and Hypertension Association. She is helped in her project by 6 other colleagues who ensure the project is correctly managed.

Zamzam shows us the lentils and beans she encourages her patients to eat to improve their general health
Zamzam shows us the lentils and beans she encourages her patients to eat to improve their general health

The mission aims:
to help patients understand their condition
to help patients understand that there is no cure, but treatment needs to become a lifelong plan
to teach patients lifestyle advise and show them the dietary changes they can make
to provide patients with the medication they need at zero cost – she has been supported in this by donations from pharmaceutical companies.

The SDHA team have created their own information for patients in the form of both written guidance leaflets and story videos.

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Zamzam truly understands the complexities of treating long term conditions and will make a huge difference to the patients who go to her association for advise. I sincerely hope that Zamzam gets the financial and practical support she deserves to develop her project into the future. She has numerous ideas, but without financial support cannot put into action her vision of outdoor gyms and more.

Zamzam deserves both support and recognition for initiating this essential service for patients.

We met Zamzam’s youngest patient today. Mawaahib, now 7,  has been living since the age of 2 with diabetes. Her family are very grateful for the support they have received from the SDHA.

Mawaahib aged 7 (centre)
Mawaahib aged 7 (centre)

 

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