Floating Doctors fighting dehydration

Floating Doctors is one of Heart to Heart International’s nonprofit partners. Its mission is to reduce the present and future burden of disease in the developing world, and to promote improvements in healthcare delivery worldwide. One of the programs the organization runs includes mobile medical, dental, and veterinary clinics year-round throughout the indigenous Ngäbe communities in the Bocas del Toro region of Panama.

Most of the population in these communities drink only one to three glasses of water a day, even while working in the sun. Between this poor water consumption and the incidence of diarrheal disease, dehydration is both a chronic condition and a very dangerous acute issue. HHI was able to supply Floating Doctors with DripDrop oral rehydration packets. DripDrop packets combine medically-relevant sodium electrolyte levels and the right amount of glucose in a fast-absorbing formula with a pleasant taste. These packets were distributed as a treatment for acute dehydration and to supplement patient education for chronic dehydration.

“The DripDrop sachets were a great benefit to our hydration health education program, as well as our ability to treat acute dehydration. As most of our patients are chronically dehydrated, proper health education on water consumption is particularly important to our ongoing programming,” Jolie LaBrot with Floating Doctors said. “Being able to distribute DripDrop sachets along with our education sessions made the sessions more appealing, as a giveaway nearly always does.”

With the more acute cases of dehydration, typically as a result of diarrheal disease or other gastrointestinal issues, the DripDrop packets were a critical treatment for the effects of dehydration while they were able to simultaneously address the causes.

Floating Doctors said one of the biggest benefits to having the DripDrop packets has been the expansion of their hydration training. While they have a recipe for homemade Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS), they have not had anything to give away to patients other than instructions for making ORS. Having something to give away at educational sessions has increased interest in the sessions and they have seen an uptick in attendance. Because combatting the effects of dehydration is a major aspect of the programming, expanding this program will have long-lasting repercussions.

In six months, Floating Doctors has treated almost 3,000 patients suffering from dehydration with DripDrop packets.

“While we continue to provide ORS recipes to our patients for the treatment of acute dehydration, we have found patients to be more compliant in actually using the treatment if we can provide at least an initial therapy,” LaBrot said. “Additionally, the taste of the homemade formula is not very appealing to the majority of our patients. DripDrop has a more pleasant taste, and we have found patients, especially children, to be much more compliant in taking it to combat the effects of dehydration.”

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