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Therapeutic Diabetes Education a necessity to check the trend of Diabetes Epidemic
Apollinaire Bouchardat 1883
Appollinaire Bouchardat in his book Le Diabètè sucrè published in 1883, was the first to promote urine self testing for glucose as a basis for management of persons with t ype 2 Diabetes. He recognized the need for involvement of the individual living with diabetes in management.
Jean Philip Assal in the 1970s introduce the essential role of patient education as a therapy for diabetes. He structured diabetes education involving specialist and this brought about the revolution in many diabetes units in many hospitals and eventually to the founding of EASD many years ago.
The management of diabetes today could be hinged on four cardinal principles, these include: Diet, medication, exercise and patient education. These principles are anchored on education. The extent of involvement of education as a therapy in many health institutions managing diabetes vary across the various continents and countries alike.
In the USA, considering the huge budget diabetes has placed on her health care services, patient education has effectively been introduced as a therapy in many health centres managing diabetes the result is better control and understanding of diabetes by the patient. In many countries of Europe, it is gradually being introduced in to their health care systems, especially the Diabetes Conversation Map Tool kit has helped to make this integration easy and effective.
In the middle east, awareness about diabetes is on the increase. This will be climaxed by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) congress taking place in Dubai later part of year 2011. Many Governments in these region need to make a statement regarding diabetes management and incorporation of diabetes education as a therapy towards better management and control.
In Africa, the story is not the same. North African countries have better diabetes awareness and diabetes education has long been introduced into their diabetes management programmes, though much need to be done in area of training and renumeration for diabetes Educators who are scarce and unrecognized in most cases. In sub-Saharan Africa their seems to be no recognition of diabetes educators, though with some improvement in East Africa, but in west Africa, much needs to be done. Diabetes Education is mostly carried out by persons not fully equipped to deliver the content in line with standard diabetes curricula as outlined by IDF, hence there is no uniformity of standard, the result is wrong teaching based on what the health educator feels or think he knows about diabetes.
Diabetes is a giant that should not be treated with kids glove. It is complex disease, in which research has shown in clear terms that though not curable yet but can be managed and the person living the disease can enjoy a full life.
With the forth coming UN summit on NCDs coming up in New York in September, 2011, the world need to rise to the challenge diabetes is posing with over 285 million persons world over living with this condition and a quarter of this figure are unknown. The awareness programmes currently channeled towards HIV/AIDs, if half of it is focused on diabetes and other non communicable diseases, millions of lives will be saved and money expended on management will be used for other daring needs.
Doctors, Pharmacist, Nurses, Nutritionist and \Dieticians and other members of the health care profession need to understand that management of diabetes is a team work and there is a need to under go some forms of training to effectively deliver diabetes education to patients. It is important to always note that Diabetes Education as a Therapy in management of diabetes, however there need to be standard in the curricula. It must be inline with current practice and guideline by the International Diabetes Federation.