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OUH Dietitian shares her expertise in Costa Rica

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In February 2019 OUH Dietitian Anne Marie Frohock went out to Costa Rica to share her knowledge and experience of the management of diabetes in children and young people. She worked with healthcare teams from the San Jose Children's Hospital and volunteered with DIA VIDA - Asociación Pro Diabéticos at their annual camp for youngsters.

Anne Marie is Lead Paediatric Diabetes Dietitian with Oxfordshire Children's Diabetes Service, a multi-professional team supporting all children and young people with diabetes from birth to over 18.

In 2017 she won the 'Award for Excellence' at the 2017 OUH Staff Recognition Awards for her work setting up a specialist Sports Clinic helping youngsters with diabetes take part and excel in sporting activities.

Across Costa Rica, there is huge variation in access to insulin and education. Some youngsters have to manage with just one or two blood glucose (BG) checks a day, injections of very basic insulin and set meals that may not be appropriate for their age. Access to education is not readily available which means many families miss out on gaining the knowledge and skills which are essential for optimal diabetes management.

DIA VIDA - Asociación Pro Diabéticos is a non-profit association seeking to create a better quality of life for people with Type 1 Diabetes in Costa Rica. Through education and improving access to more modern insulin, DiaVida is improving outcomes for youngsters living with diabetes. Each year it runs a camp for over 70 youngsters, staffed entirely by volunteers and funded mainly through sponsorship.

Anne Marie joined a team of dietitians at the camp, working with doctors and youngsters to optimise insulin doses around mealtimes and activities.

As well as teaching youngsters about 'carb counting' and insulin dose adjustment, she oversaw the review of the insulin and meal plans for each child attending, some of whom had not seen a dietitian for two years.

Before the camp, Anne Marie talked about evidence-based practice and our diabetes service at OUH at a DiaVida event for doctors, nurses and dietitians. She was then invited, by the doctors who attended, to speak to their team at the San Jose Children's Hospital, where access to paediatric diabetes nurses and dietitians is not easy. Sharing best practice from OUH and information on outcomes has hopefully given them the evidence that they need to secure extra funding and training to expand their team.

Anne Marie also worked with Paula Chinchilla [@PaulaNutriDiabe], Dietitian and Chair of DiaVida who organises the camp, to conduct research to assess its impact on the young people attending, and thereby secure funding for it to continue.

Anne Marie's work in Costa Rica is an example of the way in which OUH clinicians can share their knowledge and experience with others: in future we hope to host members of the Dia Vida team here in Oxford and continue to work in partnership with them.

If you would like to help out and donate towards Anne Marie's trip, please visit her fundraising page.

Pictured: Anne Marie (fourth from left) with colleagues at the camp