CLARKE COUNTY, Va. - Project HOPE, a global health organization based in Clarke County, launched an initiative in India aimed at combating some of the most common diseases in the country -- diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular conditions.
The HOPE in the organization's name stands for "health opportunities for people everywhere," and that's exactly what officials said its newest program in India embodies.
"Helping the government train their own workers to combat [non-communicable diseases], to promote wellness within the communities, and also to manage non-communicable diseases in the clinics," said Katie Kowalski, senior program officer for Project HOPE's global health division.
The United Dialogue and Action Against Non-communicable Disorders Program kicked off Feb. 29.
"In 2014, the World Health Organization reported that over 60 percent of deaths in India were attributable to non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, cancer," Kowalski said.
In fact, more people in India reportedly have diabetes than in any other country in the world.
"Due to rapid urbanization and also upper mobility in the economy, it's become a bigger problem in India," Kowalski said.
Doctors already in India with Project HOPE said the goal of its new year-long program is to train thousands of health professionals in the country on best practices for diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular disease prevention and care.
"How they can prevent, how they can modify their lifestyle,” said Dr. Laxmikant Palo, Project HOPE’s country director in India. “So, how we can make this program so that more people are aware and have timely screenings."
In addition to training health care workers in India, the nonprofit is showing citizens how their lifestyle can affect their health by holding more fairs and events.
"Mobilizing communities, building more awareness in the community so that communities empower," Palo said.
Funding from Boston Scientific Corporation helped make the program possible.