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Mary Mediatrix Medical Center unveils endocrine, diabetes, and metabolic facility

The province of Batangas, the home of kapeng barako, is not spared from the increasing number of patients with diabetes. Patients from different far-flung barrios have sought consultation with physicians in their respective health centers, and those with extra resources have opted to see medical specialists in tertiary hospitals. There was also noticeable increase in admissions due to diabetes, often due to complications (nonhealing wound, infection, stroke, and heart problems).

It is in this scenario that Mary Mediatrix Medical Center (MMMC), one of the premier medical centers in Southern Tagalog, saw the need for a comprehensive facility for diabetes and weight management, which aims to be at par with those in Metro Manila. Last November 4, 2009, MMMC inaugurated its Endocrine, Diabetes, and Metabolic Facility, the first of its kind in this part of Luzon.

Diabetes education center
The concept of puffing up such facility was the brainchild of endocrinologists and diabetologists practicing at MMMC; they are Drs. Arlene Gana, Carolyn Montano, Florence Santos, Debbie Joson, and Esperanza Martinez-Leynes. After its proposal to MMMC president and medical director Dr. Robert Magsino Jr., budget was immediately allocated and prioritized in the newly built H. B. Calleja Building. A complete staff for the diabetes education center was hired—all certified nutritionists and nurses.

MMMC’s diabetes nurse, Romer Marcelo, is a certified nurse educator who has attended courses with the Philippine Center for Diabetes Education Foundation. The chief dietitian, Baby Permentilla, is also a bona fide nutritionist who has conducted dietary counseling for several years.

The center has created its own lecture modules for diabetes education; namely, diabetes nature and complications, diabetic foot, insulin injection and glucose monitoring, gestational diabetes mellitus, and medical nutrition therapy.

Referrals for education are made during the hospital stay of patients or on an outpatient basis. Lay format of visual aids and Powerpoint presentations compose each module. Leaflets are also provided for the patient to take home. It is through this facility that patients gain the awareness and knowledge on how to recognize early signs of diabetes, the importance of good glycemic control, prevention of complications, and proper nutrition. Due to hard times, some patients would sometimes refuse counseling to avoid additional charges during hospital admission, but due to shared experiences of previous patients, there are some who would voluntarily seek consult and listen to lectures. Most of the patients who have heard the modules gained self-confidence in baffling diabetes and its complications. Slowly but surely, our effort to offer diabetes education would greatly contribute to our patient’s awareness toward the growing epidemic of diabetes mellitus.

Weight management unit
MMMC had opened the state-of-the-art Weight Management Unit as part of the Endocrine, Diabetes, and Metabolic Facility. Its vision is focused to provide highest standards of nutrition care and to be a prime advocate of lifestyle excellence through weight management. The Weight Management Unit is a centralized subunit for the evaluation, risk stratification, education, and implementation of a comprehensive and multidisciplinary weight management program for the obese, overweight, and underweight patients.

Enrolled patients undergo preliminary screening consist of blood tests, electrocardiogram, and chest X-ray. Clinical screening will be done by the attending physician and additional workups may be requested accordingly. The multidisciplinary team is composed of endocrinologists, diabetologists, cardiologists, pulmonologists, psychiatrists, gastroenterologists, surgeons, physiatrists, nurses, and nutritionists. Everybody goes on deck for consecutive enrollees.

The program consists of an intensive phase and a maintenance phase. Throughout the program, the patient has constant follow-up with the dietitian to keep track of his or her weight loss and regular exercises with the fitness instructor. Gadgets such as body fat analysis, 20-pound fat vest, detecto scale, and food pyramid are made accessible for patients. The thermogenesis area is equipped with machines such as rower, stepper, recumbent bike, and treadmill. Availability of the gym for patient’s use was made flexible by having extended hours during weekdays. For clients who are not enrolled in the program but would want to avail of the gym facilities, there is an affordable fee for daily, monthly, or yearly basis.

Indeed, MMMC has pioneered a facility that is germane to the current diabesity (diabetes and obesity) challenge. Through the comprehensive program offered, all the nearby towns and cities will benefit in terms of patient diabetes education and a structured and supervised weight loss program.

Just like a Batangueno fighting an enemy with a balisong, MMMC Endocrine, Diabetes, and Metabolic Facility will valiantly uphold its mission to promote healthy lifestyle geared toward becoming the “Center for Excellence” in South Luzon.

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