Support Segments

Reasons for attending MSGs

… I go to the talks because you have to, if I don’t go they mark me absent and withdraw the support I get from the Oportunidades [program], but to be honest, it does help even though it’s just a little bit. The lady tells us we don’t have to, but I do feel obliged. I have no other option than to go on the day and at the time that they say … (Female patient from a rural HCC)

… for me it’s important to attend the group sessions because you learn a lot about your disease, about the drugs we take, and about how we should care for ourselves so we don’t get further problems; you also learn [about] what you should and shouldn’t eat, and the symptoms we could get when we take our insulin and what to do in each case … (Male patient from an urban HCC)

… I think that being in the group motivates us to take better care of ourselves, seeing other patients with all their problems and the effort they have to put into their care motivates you; in this way we support each other … (Female patient from an urban HCC)

… what I really like about it is that you always learn something new, everything I’m learning I tell my sisters, because I know that sooner or later they might become diabetic too, so that they can gradually start taking care of themselves … (Male patient from an urban HCC)

Barriers to participate in MSGs

… to tell the truth, I don’t go to the group because the health center is too far, and I can’t take the bus alone; I don’t have anyone who can come with me, and I can’t afford to pay a taxi, so I end up not going, though I would like to … (Female patient from an urban HCC)

… I don’t participate [in the MSG], or do very little, because I had a heart attack and I can’t walk much. When I attend, it’s because I have questions or I feel bad. Then I stay in the [MSG] meeting, but not very often because I don’t have anyone who can come with me, and in the condition I am in I can’t go alone … (Female patient from an urban HCC)

… I would like to go, but I can’t because of my work. I have to take time off to go to an appointment, and this is hard because then I don’t get paid … the meetings are always in the mornings, but in the afternoon, when I would be able to go, it’s not when the group meets. They should have different meeting times so that you could choose when you attend. (Male patient from a rural/urban HCC)

Benefits of participating in MSGs

… a group like this helps us as patients. If you’re diabetic or hypertensive you have a lot of physical problems, you’re deteriorating. Participating in discussions, doing the exercises, and meeting with the others encourages you to keep on going and to become better … (Female patient from an urban HCC)

… being in the group has helped me a lot; I feel better. I’ve lost weight and my blood sugar is under better control. I also feel more energetic. Here [in the MSG] you can talk about your problems, and even more so when the psychologists come and you start talking. You talk about your concerns and about the things that make you sad … (Female patient from an urban HCC)

MSG achievements

… the talks they organize in the groups help us because we are not in used to the words the doctors often use; in the talks they tell us what do these words mean, and this helps a lot. (Female patient from an urban HCC)

In the group, they monitor your blood sugar to check whether we have it under control or not. Every month or so they do a blood test and take our blood pressure so they can tell the doctor how we are doing. In this way, when we go to the appointment the doctor knows how we were in the previous month. (Female patient from an urban HCC)

… in the group we do exercise with the others, it motivates you more; when it’s just you, you don’t do any (exercise). Every day, the group gets together to do exercise, and if you go regularly you feel much better, it’s really good that they keep us active … (Female patient from an urban HCC)

It’s really good that we have a psychologist because sometimes you need to talk about what you are feeling. At times, I get depressed and talking with him has helped me. I would say that the psychologist should be there more time to help us … (Female patient from an urban HCC)

Limitations of MSGs

... we go, but we get tired of going because they tell us to come back every week, and it can be a long wait before the talk begins, and sometimes there wasn’t even anything … (Female patient from a rural/urban HCC)

Sometimes I think the talks are not very helpful because, actually, you don’t understand a lot and we forget what they tell us … (male patient from a rural HCC)

There are activities that help us a lot, but the problem is that they hardly ever have those; you could say that it was only once in a while that they have exercise classes, around every two or three months. What they have more often is the talks. (Male patient from an urban HCC)

What I’ve noticed is that nurses and doctors have a lot of work; sometimes they are overloaded with all the patients they see, children, women, men, seniors; so even if they wanted to, how would they have time to take care of the group too? But they don’t ask us for help either; some of us could help with organizing the group if they would ask us … (Female patient from an urban HCC)

… they give us brochures and leaflets with information that I guess is important, but I one can’t read them because I can’t see very well and the letters are very small, so what good does it do me? … (Male patient from a rural HCC)