BENTONVILLE, Ark. and NEW ORLEANS, Sept. 24 Witha commitment to battling diabetes in this region, and making healthcare moreaffordable and accessible, Wal-Mart and the Delta Regional Authority (DRA)today joined forces to launch a diabetes awareness program in Wal-Mart storesacross the eight-state DRA region beginning this month and continuing throughMarch 2008.
With a half-million dollar gift from the Wal-Mart Foundation to supportits Healthy Delta diabetes initiative (http://www.healthydelta.com), the DRAwill host a series of "Hometown Health Fairs" at Wal-Mart stores -- beginningin Jonesboro, Ark. on Sept. 29 and continuing in select parishes and countiesin Alabama, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri andTennessee. Through the Health Fairs, the DRA will continue its efforts toencourage residents who have diabetes or may be at risk of developing thedisease to see a health care professional to manage its long-term debilitatingeffects.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, 20.8 million Americans --seven percent of the population -- have diabetes. That percentage climbs toalmost 10 percent of the population in the 240 counties and parishes served bythe Delta Regional Authority.
"The health care reform effort in America simply must include diseasemanagement programs and Wal-Mart is pleased to support this important diabeteseducation program in an eight-state region," said Linda Dillman, executivevice president of benefits, risk management and sustainability for Wal-MartStores, Inc. "Diabetes is a real threat to millions of Americans. Withpharmacies, health clinics, and vision centers, Wal-Mart is often a healthdestination in small towns along the Mississippi River. We look forward todoing everything we can to help the Delta Regional Authority help peoplemanage and avoid diabetes."
"This Wal-Mart partnership on our Healthy Delta program is truly aremarkable demonstration of the good that can happen when public and privateorganizations partner to take on important health issues," said Pete Johnson,federal co-chairman of the Delta Regional Authority.
Each Hometown Health Fair will include free biometric screenings: bodycomposition, including weight, body fat and body mass index; total cholesterolcheck; HDL, LDL and triglycerides levels and glucose level checks availablefor 200 people at each Saturday event. Free blood pressure screenings andother health information will also be available.
Reinforcing its commitment to help provide access to affordable healthcarein the Delta region, Wal-Mart also announced a unique partnership with XavierUniversity in New Orleans to reopen the university's disease management clinicthat was destroyed in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Wal-Mart willprovide Xavier space in its Harihan, La. store with hopes to reopen the clinicby the end of this year.
"Diabetes is a controllable disease with possible devastating consequencesand it makes good economic sense to use resources on patient education ratherthan on treating the consequences," said Wayne Harris, dean of the College ofPharmacy at Xavier University of New Orleans. "Effective diabetes managementrequires an active partnership between the patient, his/her family and healthcare providers. Patients must understand the importance ofself-monitoring of blood glucose levels and they must be taught how to do iton a regular basis. Because of their accessibility in the community,pharmacists are ideally suited to take a leadership role in this component ofcare."
Healthy Delta will run radio and television advertising in an eight-stateregion urging diabetics, and people who think they might have diabetes, tocall 866-602-3300 for more information about diabetes management. Callers willbe mailed information about diabetes prevention and management, as well asinformation about diabetes prescription medication