Remote Islands Diabetes Education (RIDE)

A Tongan father holds his daughter, both nervously watching through a window as the Sea Mercy doctors and staff evaluate and test his "at risk" wife for diabetes.

A shocking reality

Sixty years ago, diabetes was virtually unheard of in the South Pacific. Today, diabetes is so prevalent in the South Pacific, the news from a doctor is rarely good. 40% of the Pacific island region's population of 9.8 million has been diagnosed with cardiovascular disease, diabetes and hypertension. These three diseases account for 75% of all deaths across the South Pacific and 40-60% of total health-care expenditure.

A major challenge for Pacific island countries is to reinforce nutrition education in schools by promoting healthy eating practices. On the few primary islands, the message is slowly getting out, but on the 1,000's of more vulnerable remote islands, there is very little access to nutritional or behavior education, creating a deadly epidemic and a desperate call for help.

Sea Mercy is answering the call!

Operating a growing fleet of Free remote island Floating Health Care Clinic's (FHCC) serving the remote islands of the South Pacific, Sea Mercy has teamed up with Certified Diabetes Educators, Pharmacists, Ophthalmologists, and the Health Ministries of their island nation partners, to develop and deliver a diabetes education and treatment program to these neglected remote island people.

"Our goal is to turn back the "diabetes risk" in an effort to change the destiny and future of these incredible people living on remote islands before it is too late." Julie Dewsnup, RPh, CDE

Sea Mercy's RIDE (remote islands diabetes education) Program offers the best "education delivery" solution for the remote islands of the South Pacific. "Our goal is to turn back the "diabetes risk" in an effort to change the destiny and future of these incredible people living on remote islands before it is too late." Julie Dewsnup, RPh, CDE who is the diabetes program director for Sea Mercy. "It starts with educating the school age children before the bad nutritional habits are developed, educating the adults about healthy eating and physical activity, and then providing the support and tools needed to make changes."

Remote Island Diabetes Education (RIDE)

FHCC team preparing to sail out to the remote islands"Adding the RIDE program to our remote island FHCC operations was the perfect solution to a growing problem," says Richard Hackett, President of Sea Mercy. "50-60% of all our health care staff's efforts, prescribed medicines and supplies were focused on treating diabetes related issues. Without the RIDE program as a part of our service, there will never be enough vessels, doctors, or medicines to treat this growing epidemic."

The RIDE Program

The RIDE program is designed to be the "educational" arm of Sea Mercy's FHCC operations during each remote island visit, but with new health care teams and multiple vessels and remote island nations, there were many challenges that needed to be addressed if it were to be successful. We needed a RIDE program that:

  • Would encourage and draw all the remote islanders to attend
  • Could be easily setup and delivered at each stop
  • Was comprehensive and clear, but would hold their attention
  • Would create a "fun" and interactive environment between the volunteers and the islanders
  • Help empower people with diabetes to make lifestyle changes in the mangagement of diabetes

It seemed like a tall order to fill, but Julie came up with the perfect program solution. A series of short, but relevant (and culturally appropriate) diabetes educational videos produced in their native language, followed by an entertaining Hollywood movie. Below is a brief overview of the RIDE program syllabus:

Provide Diabetes Education & Care for remote islanders

  • Regular visits and evaluation by trained professionals
  • Monitor BP, Cholesterol and blood glucose
  • Teach skills to prevent and reduce complications
  • Promote healthy eating
  • Teach glucose monitoring skills
  • Promote a healthy exercise program
  • Importance of following a medication plan

RIDE Program & Movie Night

Diabetes education was never this much fun, or memorable. During the FHCC operations during the day, we pass the word to the patents treated that there will be a movie night after the evening meal and that they are invited. This creates the perfect environment for us to attract and communicate our vital message to the islanders.

To create a RIDE movie night on any remote island (with no power), we need the following:

  • Generator & extension cord
  • Laptop, projector, speakers, and screen (or white sheet)
  • RIDE program video(s)
  • A selection of pre-approved movies to pick from

We now have a program that the remote island people will look forward to watching everytime Sea Mercy's FHCC visits their remote island.

Follow-up individual educational sessions will be available for all who are interested, The movie night will be a great introduction to the diabetes care Sea Mercy will provide.

Partners & Champions Wanted!

Although the message is the same, each island nation requires a unique set of video's (native language) to be produced. There are 11 island nations we have targeted for this program and some will have several FHCC vessels operating in each (i.e. Solomon Islands has 300+ inhabited remote islands).

As a result, we are looking for individual and corporate champions and partners who have the same heat and desire to help change the destiny of the South Pacific. If you have the talent and/or resources (financial and in-kind assistance) to help us produce each new video series (and ongoing changes) and equip each FHCC vessel to deliver the RIDE program, please contact us. We are looking for::

  • Partners (mutual programs that can leverage our remote island FHCC vessels)
  • In-kind Donations (supplies and equipment)
  • Sponsors (corporate and individual)

Every donation (financial or in-kind) matters, so please either contact us direclty, or use the "other amount" box at the bottom.

Here are a few areas that we are seeking funding or in-kind donations for:

RIDE Video Production (unique island) = $500
    Native voice recording, editing and production
RIDE Testing Equipment for each vessel: 
    Cholesterol & glucose monitoring equipment/supplies,   
    Blood pressure monitoring equipment.

RIDE Equipment for each vessel:
    Includes generator, laptop, projector, and screen
RIDE Implentation & Training for each vessel = $2,500
    Direct CDE training and implementation of the program
    with each Sea Mercy Captain/crew and lead volunteer
    on each rotation

Make A Donation!

Help us to make a difference across the South Pacific by Making a Donation (click on the link) and it will reload the donate form for you to use (at bottom of page).

Thank you for your support!

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