Over 225 patients in Qatar completed the DESMOND programme

A Type 2 diabetes education programme developed by researchers from the UK has been adapted for Arabic patients by a team of diabetes educators from Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) in collaboration with the University of Leicester.

The programme, Diabetes Education and Self-Management for Ongoing and Newly Diagnosed (DESMOND), was developed through evidence-based research and has been widely implemented across the UK during the past decade. Based around physical activity and healthy lifestyle changes, the programme was adapted from English to Arabic, a world-first for the curriculum, as part of an ongoing effort to support patients with Type 2 diabetes in Qatar and other Arabic-speaking countries.

diabetes-blood-sugar-diabetic-medicine-46173According to Manal Othman, Director of Diabetes Education at HMC, diabetes is one of the most pressing health conditions in Qatar. She said that unless wide scale steps are taken to change behaviours and address diabetes risk factors, the number of families affected by the disease will continue to grow.

We know that the majority of diabetes care is the responsibility of the patient, so it is essential that our patients are well-informed and skilled to manage this disease.’

Othman and her team not only adapted the programme from English to Arabic, but they also made modifications to ensure it was culturally-appropriate and the content relevant to the local population. The programme, which consists of six hours of education and is generally delivered in one-day or half-day formats, helps participants understand their diabetes, including risk factors and complications.

Dr Mahmoud Zirie, Senior Consultant and Head of the Endocrinology Department at Hamad General Hospital, said the programme is significant because diabetes is a progressive condition. He said that while traditional treatment has centred on drug interventions, the benefits of educating people about how to manage their condition themselves cannot be disputed.

Anyone with Type 2 diabetes has to make multiple daily choices about the management of their condition – appropriate dietary intake, physical activity, and adherence to prescribed medications – and these choices are often made with minimal input from a healthcare professional.

While patient education has long been part of the treatment protocol here at HMC, we know that structured education, and specifically DEMOND, works. An educated and empowered patient can work more effectively with their doctors to improve and maintain better control of their condition.’

WHO infographic on diabetes

To date, 227 patients have completed the programme and over a dozen HMC patient educators have been trained to deliver DESMOND. Othman added that patients who may have been isolated by their diagnosis in the past are also now provided with a support system.

Most groups will have ten participants as the programme is built around group activities.’

Othman added that patients who have completed the program and continue to be cared for by the National Diabetes Center at Hamad General Hospital, have reported reducing their HbA1c levels by around 1%. HbA1c test records average blood sugar readings of someone with diabetes over weeks or months.

For more information about HMC’s DESMOND programme, visit hamad.qa