A type 2 diabetes management program developed by researchers from the UK’s University of Leicester and adapted for Qatar by a team of diabetes educators from Hamad Medical Corporation’s (HMC) Hamad General Hospital has now been delivered to over 300 patients in Qatar.
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 on physical activity and healthy lifestyle changes, in 2018 a team from HMC adapted the program from English to Arabic, a world-first for the curriculum.
Ms. Manal Othman, Director of Diabetes Education at HMC, says the program has been delivered to more than 300 patients with type 2 diabetes during more than 50 sessions held at Hamad General and Al Wakra Hospitals. She says being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes can be overwhelming, underscoring the importance of helping ensure patients are well-informed and skilled to manage the disease.
“Being diagnosed can be a very stressful experience, for both the patient and his or her family. It means adopting a whole new lifestyle. DESMOND is a structured self-management education program that helps empower individuals to learn about their own long-term condition and it helps them make decisions that will support the management of their care. There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to diabetes management and DESMOND provides a welcoming and non-judgmental space where participants can learn to manage their condition,” said Ms. Othman.
“DESMOND has been scientifically proven to improve well-being, adherence to prescribed medication, and weight loss. Traditionally, treatment for type 2 diabetes has centered on drug interventions and when not managed properly, the disease can lead to devastating complications such as loss of limbs, increased risk of a stroke or heart attack, and blindness, so introducing DESMOND has been a major positive change to how diabetes care is delivered here in Qatar,” added Ms. Othman.
Ms. Amani Ajina, Senior Adult Diabetes Educator at HMC and DESMOND Coordinator says the program consists of six hours of education and is generally delivered in one day or two half-days. The program is built around group activities and she says it works because educators help increase participants’ knowledge and understanding of what having diabetes means, empowering them to make their own decisions.
“Participants learn about a variety of topics, including risk factors, complications, physical activity, and appropriate food choices. They can meet and talk to others in their same situation, sharing experiences and talking about what type 2 diabetes means to them. The sessions are delivered in an informal and friendly atmosphere,” said Ms. Ajina.
“As part of brining this internationally-recognized program to HMC we not only adapted it from English to Arabic but our team also made modifications to ensure it was culturally appropriate and the content relevant to the local population,” added Ms. Ajina.
In addition to Qatar, DESMOND is currently delivered in more than a hundred sites in the UK as well as in Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand. In Qatar DESMOND is provided free of charge and in Arabic and English.
In response to the ongoing COVID-19 situation, HMC has extended the hours of operation for its diabetes hotline (16099; select option 4). This phone-based emergency service is now available seven days a week from 7am to 10pm to provide individuals with all types of diabetes who are receiving care at HMC, as well as their relatives or caregivers, with medical advice related to diabetes and COVID.