Main Article Content
This study is the second phase of a participatory action research aims to develop an empowerment process for people with non-communicable diseases (NCD) to reduce sodium consumption and prevent chronic kidney disease (CKD) in 7 villages of Chiang Yuen District, Mahasarakham Province. Participants consisted of 1) 102 patients with hypertension and type 2 diabetes, 2) 92 caregivers, 3) 84 health volunteers and community leaders, and 4) 4 health personnel. Data collection was completed through participatory and non-participatory observations, fieldnotes, 14 small- group dialogues with NCD patients, 14 village brainstorming sessions, and 3 subdistrict brainstorming sessions. Data were analyzed with content analysis.
Throughout the study period, participants exchanged and reflected their experience regarding sodium consumption and health status of NCD patients. Results from brainstorming sessions yielded several strategies for sodium restriction including 1) avoiding high sodium diets by cooking their own meals instead of buying prepared meal from outside, 2) reducing spicy food consumption, 3) lowering amount of condiments and preservatives added to the meal, 4) avoiding spicy food consumption during social gatherings, 5) communities declared policy on no monosodium glutamate (MSG) in seasonings during social events, and 6) communities produced alternative seasonings from natural herbs to substitute MSG. Six months after the study was undertaken revealed that friends and relatives were supportive in patients’ sodium restriction diets. Community food venders avoided or reduced the amount of sodium used in their food preparation. The success of NCD patient empowerment and community participation evident in this study led to sustainable health promotion for NCD patients to prevent CKD for both the patients and their caregivers in the community.