"I am Pouv Sothearin (28). I worked as a peer educator till 2005. Now I am diabetes manager of MoPoTsyo patient information centre and supervise the other peer educators. I have been diagnosed with diabetes type MODY three years ago. I was very thirsty, had headaches and lost a lot of weight. I went to the hospital and did an urine test, the results showed that I had diabetes.
In the beginning it scared me that I would die soon. I felt
really bad. I was afraid, I had no money to buy the medicines nor had my family. So I decided to stop my studies, to leave my family and to move to the capital to find a job.
Now I feel more comfortable about my diabetes, I got to work for MoPoTsyo and use my diabetes to help other people. I gained knowledge about diabetes through training courses, self study and the internet. I am also more positive; when my family and friends tell me that I cannot marry and will be death early, I tell them that that is not true. I can live like other persons, if I have the access to medicines, a proper diet and do exercises. With my diabetes I still face lots of challenges, but try to overcome these.
I started with a traditional treatment, but I changed to modern therapy and use insulin one time a day now. As well as that I changed my lifestyle; I changed my diet and start to do exercises. I started to feel much better and was really able to recap my life
In my work for MoPoTsyo I try to help to recap the lives of poor people with diabetes. I support the peer educators in explaining about the diabetes disease, the complications, diet changes etc. The information meetings at the patient information centres are very useful I think, because the information is coming directly at patient level and diabetics can discuss and exchange experiences with each other. Although sometimes people do not want to understand what diabetes implies or they lack money to really change their lifestyles".[29-06-2007]
"I am Thaung Sovannra (34) and work as a peer educator in my community for two years now. I am diagnosed with diabetic type II nearly two years ago. In those days I met a peer educator, who did blood glucose test. That is how I got to know that I had diabetes.
I was very shocked and hopeless at that point, I thought that I would die soon. I felt unhappy, my friends did not want meet me anymore. Fortunately my family still loved me and wanted to live together with me. Moreover I had a lot of questions. Does using medication give any complications? How many more years do I live, 5, 10, 20? I struggled, because I need a good health to take care of myself and my family.
I regained hope, since I started to be a peer educator for MoPoTsyo patient information centre. I understand and know now about the disease and the treatment. It is good organisation, it provides a real diabetes service, which is absent in Cambodia. If I am allowed to make a recommendation, I’d like to recommend that in the future MoPoTsyo should cover more areas, so that more people receive diabetes service."[29-06-2007]
“My name is Sreng San. I am 39 years old. I work as peer educator in Anlong Kangan. When Pouv Sothearin did a blood glucose test, I discovered that I had diabetes type II.
When I realised that I had diabetes, I felt fear; people started to tell me that I would not live long. When I received the advice from Sothearin I started to feel more relaxed. I am also less anxious now, because my family and friends treat me normal again. They understand now that diabetes cannot be transmitted.
Before I was involved in MoPoTsyo patient information centre, I did not know any other person in my village that had diabetes. Now I know a lot of people, I meet them during the information sessions at my house. I like working as a peer educator. I think the communication between diabetics is very important; people can help each other and give each other advices. MoPoTsyo is an effective organisation and helps the poor in the community, but sometimes people are too poor and need more help or financial support.” [29-06-2007]
“I am Taet Touch (38) and have been the first female peer educator of MoPoTsyo patient information centre. I do this work for one year now and have been diabetic for two years.
Before I became diabetic, I knew already some neighbours who had diabetes. They helped me, I could not move my legs anymore and was very tired. They told me that I had to visit the hospital. There the doctor tested my blood-sugar level and found out that I had diabetes type II.
I felt quite normal about it, although I did not like to think about it too much. Since I change my lifestyle, exercise and eat smaller amounts of food, I feel happier than before.
About working in MoPoTsyo I am very positive; I think it is a good organisation. It teaches the peer educators how to advice others diabetics in self controlling blood sugar level, proper habits, nutrition etc. Moreover I like to be a peer educator. I like to help diabetics in Cambodia so that they can live a long time and that they can self-manage their diabetes.
I observed that some people do not understand their diabetes, when they have not yet met a peer educator. MoPoTsyo can then really make a difference to those people. Another point is that the contact between diabetics at the information meetings can really stimulate obtaining cheaper medicines. I heard that the patients tell each other about there experiences, the prices and where they buy their medicines.
Sometimes people are not able to join the meetings, because they need their time to do their business. That is really a pity, as I think the knowledge exposed during the meetings is very valuable.“ [29-06-2007]
“I am Kaet Bun Cheann (29) and I work for one year now for MoPoTsyo patient information centre. I started as a peer educator assistant and was being trained for five months, then I became peer educator in my own community.
I am diabetic. I felt ill for almost a year and asked myself what was wrong. I did not know. I saw many ants coming to my urine, when I had visited the toilet. Eventually I
diagnosed myself with an urine test and the results showed that I had diabetes.
At that time there was no peer educator who could explain and teach me how to deal with diabetes. But I got lucky and started to know MoPoTsyo. I use Glibenclamide tablets now, those are more effective than the traditional medicines, which I used before.
I perceive having diabetes as my destiny. My family and friends support me and they like it that I am a peer educator. I can help other people in the community. I consider the contact between diabetics a very good plan and I am happy to teach others about the diabetes disease.
For the future I have good hopes. When I start a family I do not want that my children sweeten their food. I want that my whole family have the same diet as me, so that all can have a good, healthy life.” [29-06-2007]