Over 225 Patients in Qatar Complete DESMOND Program
Doha, 12 November, 2019: A type 2 diabetes education program 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 program, 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 program 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.
Ms. Manal Othman, Director of Diabetes Education at HMC, says diabetes is one of the most pressing health conditions in Qatar. She says unless wide-scale steps are taken to change behaviors 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,” said Ms. Othman.
Ms. Othman and her team not only adapted the program from English to Arabic, but they also made modifications to ensure it was culturally appropriate and the content relevant to the local population. The program, 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, and make food choices.
Dr. Mahmoud Zirie, Senior Consultant and Head of the Endocrinology Department at Hamad General Hospital, says the program is significant because diabetes is a progressive condition. He says while traditionally treatment has centered on drug interventions, the benefits of educating people about how to manage their condition themselves cannot be disputed.
“If not managed properly, type 2 diabetes can lead to devastating complications, including blindness, a lost limb or an increased risk of a stroke or heart attack, which is why introducing people to DESMOND is so crucial,” said Dr. Zirie.
“Anyone with type 2 diabetes has to make multiple daily choices about the management of their condition, such as 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 doctor to improve and maintain better control of their condition,” added Dr. Zirie.
To date, 227 patients have completed the program and over a dozen HMC patient educators have been trained to deliver DESMOND. Ms. Othman says another benefit of the program is that patients who may have been isolated by their diagnosis in the past are now provided with a support system.
“Most groups will have ten participants as the program is built around group activities.
Educators help to increase knowledge and understanding of what having diabetes means and while there are opportunities for individuals to speak with the educator one-on-one, most patients have told us that speaking with other individuals who are navigating the same set of challenges is a big part of what empowers them and prevents them from feeling isolated or ashamed,” said Ms. Othman.