The Call of the Bugle: Combating Diabetes and High blood pressure
The sad soulful sound of the policemen’s bugle rang across the valleys as they laid my brother to rest. A couple of weeks before he had told my mother that he wanted to be buried beside his grandparents in the deep valleys of where we were born and grew up. As the sounds of the bugles continued, it wrapped my heart in such melancholy that the tears started flowing again. For the past weeks all I did was to curl up in my bed and cry and even asking God why?
But I knew why; for you see unknown to me my brother was diagnosed with high blood pressure but had failed to take his prescribed blood pressure medication. After he died the doctor reported that each time he saw my brother his blood pressure was very high. The doctor would prescribe medications but my brother went back to the doctor each time with severe hypertension from not taking his medicine. In the end my brother died at 47 years old from multi-organ failure, complications of high blood pressure.
Since my brother’s death I have met many people including relatives who have hypertension and or diabetes and who have refused to take conventional medicine. Some have died and some are suffering from the complications, like stroke, kidney failure and heart disease. This has left me wondering on how can we change the attitudes and beliefs of our people so they can start taking medication to combat these diseases.
I know that many men are reluctant to take hypertensive pills because they complain of the medication causing impotence. Many persons have allowed their cultural beliefs to leave them paralyzed with fear of modern medicine so they turn to the “bush teas” e.g, soursop leaves tea, garlic tea, periwinkle and many other herbal teas without even following up with a health practitioner to see whether these “bush teas are effective or not.” They have such belief in the effectiveness of bush teas and not realizing that these teas can also create havoc on the body’s system.
So how do we reach out to these persons who are scared of modern medicine? I believe that the key to combat hypertension and diabetes is for persons to develop trust in the healthcare system. This means that providers need to reach out more to ethnic groups with an aim of forming trusting relationships and educating persons on these disease processes and the improved quality of life that treatment promotes. Practitioners also need to be honest with patients and discuss side-effects and to let persons know that there are alternate medications that will lessen side-effects especially of impotence. Practitioners also need to become in tune with peoples cultural remedy and make attempts to incorporate these two types of medicines in caring for persons that are affected.
So today may the bugle ring in your hearts not to say good-bye but to resurrect you with new life as you seek healing from hypertension and diabetes.