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Taking action for women’s cardiovascular health in Colombia

Women in communities of African descent are more likely to live in poverty and lack access to health care, as well as to suffer from overweight, obesity and hypertension – all risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD).  Case-in-point is Colombia, where 44 percent of black women find living with non-communicable diseases (NCDs), including CVD, a daily challenge.

For this reason, we partnered with Access Accelerated and joined forces with our members the Colombian Society of Cardiology and the Colombian Heart Foundation to kick off the “Act with a woman’s heart” project. Our aim is to empower women health professionals and female leaders in black communities in Monteria, Cartajena and Apartado – underserved communities with high rates of NCDs among women – to prevent and manage heart disease. The main activities will include online training, health screenings and follow-up with a focus on hypertension, support groups for adherence to medication & lifestyle recommendations, and awareness campaigns.

While still early in the project, encouraging testimonials are coming through following the first health awareness workshops. Libia Ester Lopez, one of the participants from Apartado, said:

“We become more aware of our health because as women – we are mothers and wives – we make a lot of sacrifices. The workshops are beneficial for us because we are learning how to have a healthy diet, for example.”

The project started in October 2020. By the end of 2021, we expect to reach 800-1000 women health professionals nationwide and 450 women health leaders in the three communities.