The Santé9 program broadcast on Magik9, Tuesday 3 May 2022, was entirely dedicated to diabetes as well as a visit to FHADIMAC which allowed us to meet Dr. Nancy Charles Larco, the woman at the center of this Haitian organization. In fact, since January 2010, Dr. Nancy Charles Larco is the executive director of FHADIMAC.
With over 7,000 members, the Haitian Foundation for Diabetes and Cardiovascular Diseases is a wholly Haitian foundation. It is the only association operating in Haiti to play an essential role in the daily lives of thousands of diabetics, hypertensive and other patients with cardiovascular disease.
History of the Foundation
In January 1987, wishing to change the fate of destitute diabetics, to allow them to “live better with diabetes”, Dr. René Charles (father of Dr. Nancy Charles), with the patronage of the Lions Club of Port-au-Prince Central, opened 2 clinics: one in the dispensary of the Saint-François de Sales hospital and another in Cité Soleil at the Centers for Development and Health (CDS) premises.
In addition to free medical care, educational sessions before and during consultations explained to patients the importance of treatment, the need to recognize the signs and symptoms of diabetes and their worsening, and the obligation to report them immediately to the doctor. These patients, who at that time presented themselves in a very bad clinical state, often in pre-coma, or with stubborn wounds, immediately noticed an improvement in their state of health. In Haiti, patients were not familiar with diabetes until then, let alone its management.
In May 1987, the Haitian Diabetes Association (AHD) was created. Folk clinics were increasingly popular with more than a hundred patients per session. The need was there.
In 1989, the AHD inaugurated its headquarters at 208, Lalue. The Saint-François de Sales and Cité Soleil clinics were relocated to this location and the AHD was able to provide other services in addition to consultancy such as daily education sessions and sale of drugs at a better price to the members of the Association.
Due to the high frequency of arterial hypertension and vascular damage in diabetics, AHD became the FHADIMAC (Haitian Foundation for Diabetes and Cardiovascular Diseases) in 1993.
Since the FHADIMAC welcomes patients every day for the sale of medicines at reduced prices, the free distribution of insulin to young diabetics in need of the popular clinic thanks to a sponsorship system. The FHADIMAC also offers two weekly clinics to patients from poor grades, provides daily educational sessions.
Dr. Marie-Nancy Charles Larco
Following in the footsteps of her late father, Dr René Charles, Dr Nancy Charles Larco decided to continue this family legacy. Marie-Nancy Charles Larco is a physician, internist, trained in metabolic diseases, diabetes educator, author and lecturer specializing in diabetology and endocrinology.
In 1988, Dr. Larco was commissioned to oversee the Clinics for Diabetes and Cardiovascular Diseases (FHADIMAC). After the devastating Haiti earthquake in 2010, she was promoted to Executive Director. A committed supporter of the global diabetes campaign, she has become the coordinator of events such as World Diabetes Day, FHADIMAC Month, camps for children and young adults with diabetes and their parents or “Diabetes and Diabetes Days”. Endocrine Emergencies “which are annual training courses for all medical levels.
Thanks to his professional experience, he has led projects with the World Diabetes Foundation (WDF), Americares, Haiti Ministry of Public Health (MSPP), Life for A Child (LFAC), Insulin for Life (IFL), Helmsley Trust and many others organizations.
At the initiative of Dr. Larco, the Life For A Child program was implemented in Haiti and currently supports over 300 children and young adults.
Dr. Larco has developed numerous educational materials on diabetes and cardiovascular disease in Creole to demystify these conditions and help patients and their families overcome taboos in order to take better care of themselves.
Probably the most critical moment of his life was the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. This earthquake is one of the worst humanitarian disasters in recent history. During the disaster, FHADIMAC hosted the only diabetes clinic in Haiti, which was not destroyed by the earthquake, and Dr. Larco worked tirelessly to protect thousands of diabetic patients in dire need of health care. For her outstanding work in post-earthquake Haiti, Dr. Nancy Larco received an award from the International Diabetes Federation in 2012 in Dubai.
In June 2010, Dr. Larco launched a new program, aided by “Life for A Child” for children with diabetes. The latter receive free insulin and inputs (glucose meters, test strips, syringes) to improve their care and keep them alive. Now, after more than ten years, the group has more than 350 children and young adults.
FHADIMAC offers daily education sessions for diabetics and hypertensive people, a foot clinic that is the only one in Haiti, diabetes training sessions for medical staff, training and support for children and young adults living with type diabetes. 1.
In 2011, Dr. Larco was honored by the Rotary Club for her tremendous work for Haitians with diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
For the past nine years, Dr. Larco has been the Executive Director of FHADIMAC, working tirelessly to expand all of FHADIMAC’s businesses both in Haiti and overseas.
Currently, Dr. Larco is an ambassador of FHADIMAC, lobbying and seeking grants and sponsors for the construction of a reference center (Center of Excellence) for chronic disease management in Haiti. From 1989 to 2020, Dr. Larco has already published more than thirty research papers in Haiti and abroad. Dr. Larco is a persevering medical model in his field of work who continues to share his expertise and experience in the service of the Haitian population.
Dr. Nathalie Edema