Border Bi-national Health Week
The Ambos Nogales Bi-national Health Council sponsored two major health awareness events this fall. From October 6th to 10th, health professionals and community members participated in a five day cross-border health fair to raise awareness about chronic disease prevention. The event was the 11th Annual Border Bi-national Health Week for Nogales, Az., and the 14th Annual Bi-national Health Week for Nogales Sonora. Health professionals provided health screenings in both cities, as well as presentations on chronic disease prevention, healthy living, and on the Arizona side, a discussion on the state of the Affordable Care Act.
World Diabetes Day
On November 14, UNEME-Enfermedades Crónicas (Chronic Diseases Prevention Program) and The Bi-national Health Council of Ambos Nogales (COBINAS Nogales) kicked off a week of activities to commemorate World Diabetes Day.
“Let’s Act Now Against Diabetes!” and “Act Today to See a Change Tomorrow.” was the call to action this coalition of health providers delivered to the sister communities of Ambos Nogales, from the municipal auditorium in Nogales Sonora. One of three Bi-national Health Councils on the Arizona/Mexico border, the Ambos Nogales COBINA has brought health professionals together to identify health problems common to both communities, and to prioritize cross-border collaboration and information sharing to address those issues. SEAHEC was a co-founder of the Nogales COBINA. The COBINA, through SEAHEC’s Border Health Service Learning program and Community Health Initiatives also provides health education and training opportunities for health professions students.
Health professionals from both sides of the border made recommendations for addressing diabetes, one of our region’s most pressing health challenges. The event focused on the role community members can play in prevention and management of the disease. Hands-on demonstrations for how to make lifestyle changes included a “Zumbathon,” a healthy foods expo, and a series of conferences on cutting-edge health promotion topics, which included:
Dr. Carlos Borquez Arriaga, (UMEME) “Understanding Diabetes”
Dra. Eva Mazlum de Davis (President of the Mexican Association of Diabetes in Nogales)“How to take charge of Diabetes”
Diana Varela, Nutritionists “Proper Nutrition”
Dr. Ramon Angel Minjarez, (Dr. in Theology) “Thriving in Adversity”
COBINA Co-Chair, Dr. Carlos Borquez Arriaga, pointed out that the spread of diabetes has reached crisis proportions, and the key to stemming the tide is collaboration among health professionals to help those at risk and suffering from Diabetes to take responsibility for their own health. The purpose of the conference, he said, is to raise awareness that making diet and lifestyle changes are the best way to prevent Diabetes. Dr. Borquez Arriaga runs Nogales Sonora’s Medical Specialist Chronic Disease Unit, (UNEME-EC) home to an innovative diabetes clinic that addresses chronic disease care and prevention holistically, putting patients in the driver’s seat. Dr. Borquez explained that diabetes patients may need counseling to accept their role in managing their disease.
SEAHEC’s representative to the conference, Claudia Velasco, took the message to heart. “The message was loud and clear,” she said. “I was moved by the information I received. I have children who might be at high risk of developing a chronic disease due to genetics, she said, adding that the event provided a good mix of visuals, statistics, and humor, to grab the public’s attention.
“As a mother, I am taking steps to provide my children with nutritious meals and to offer healthier choices and information, so they can understand how serious this disease can be,” she added.
“The information provided can help us minimize this risk, along with research, an action plan and last but not least, a good positive attitude at all times, no matter what life throws at you!”
Ms. Velasco coordinates communication for the Arizona Border Communities Health Network, founded by SEAHEC and partners to provide technical assistance to the COBINAS and health providers and disseminate information to improve health service delivery in border communities.