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Diabetes Education program comes in different forms today. The media and health institutions conduct different education program or the other to ensure patients living with diabetes live well. However, the challenges abound regarding standardization of the education curricula.
It is unfortunate that while delivering diabetes education in a state hospital, I once witnessed a nurse instructing the patients not to eat any food containing carbohydrate. I asked why, the simple answer was that; somebody with diabetes should not eat any carbohydrate because of sugar. I went further to ask, are you aware that the so-called proteinous foods like beans also contain carbohydrate? she was surprised. I then disclosed my identity as a diabetes educator and a conversation Map Expert Trainer. The important thing to remind patients is that, we advocate use of complex carbohydrate which is a mixture of roughages and fibers to delay the glucose absorption and make insulin work gradually and well.
The challenge of offering diabetes Education is enormous. The person delivering the education will always say that it is a volunteer job he or she is doing. Since there is no remuneration, it is not considered a serious business. But it has always been said that any thing worth doing is worth doing well. Conducting free diabetes education program is faced with a lot of challenges. The diabetes Educator will have to source for writing materials, and sometimes refreshment for the participants to encourage them to attend. When a monetary fee is attached to such education, most people cry out that treatment of diabetes is already expensive, but the cardinal management principle of diabetes rest on education.
The question then arises, should diabetes Education be free or priced and if it should? Who should foot the payment? Is it the patient, or the government? This is a rhetorical question that requires an answer.
The Government through the Ministry of Health should liaise with stake holders like Diabetes Association and other NGOS to organize workshops and trainings for health care providers and patients. An appropriate framework can be agreed on and uniformly carried out across the country simultaneously in health care institutions. Such pragmatic action on Diabetes Education will help reduce the prevalence rate of diabetes currently on the increase. Such scheme can only be sustained with good financial support from government and donor groups.
It is hoped that the forth coming UN summit on Non communicable diseases in September, 2011 will get heads of governments’ commitment and support from donor groups towards formation of a common fund globally to fight diabetes and other non communicable diseases.
ISAAC AKOGU BPHARM,CDE