Maori, Pacific Islander and Arabic-speaking shoppers to be helped with tailor-made diabetes program


Understanding or adapting health care professional diabetes advice to different lifestyles or cultures can be challenging and often results in non-compliance.

Diabetes Queensland recently partnered with Brisbane South PHN to identify culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities to address this challenge.

Diabetes Queensland has been working with local Maori and Pacific islanders and Arabic-speaking communities for a year to make the DESMOND program (an interactive self-management education course for people with type 2 diabetes) more culturally appropriate.

DESMOND (Advanced and Newly Diagnosed Diabetes Awareness and Self-Management) is a one-day program that helps people educate themselves about healthy eating habits, physical activity, medication, and other proactive steps they can take for general well-being after diagnosing Type 2 diabetes .

“These communities have higher rates of preventable diabetes-related hospitalizations and preventable complications than other Queenslanders,” said Michelle Tong, accredited nutritionist and recognized diabetes counselor in Diabetes Queensland.

“The strong desire and motivation of these communities to see positive change led us to find out if the DESMOND program is suitable and effective for these CALD groups.”

Mike Bosel, PHN CEO of Brisbane South, said, “This partnership is important as it addresses the needs of primary care providers and the community.
“A culturally adapted DESMOND program for people with newly diagnosed diabetes supports quality care and better health outcomes.”

To educate this work, two community expert reference groups were formed, including people with diabetes, their families, health professionals, and other interested community members.

Participants discussed how DESMOND can be adapted to include culturally appropriate foods, religious practices and beliefs, and family structures in order to tailor the program to cultural needs. Based on this feedback, Diabetes Queensland and the Brisbane South PHN have tried a customized program with resources tailored to each group.
It is the first time in Australia that DESMOND has been culturally adapted to ethnic communities.

Manal Aqrawe, a doctor in Iraq for more than 20 years and a member of the Expert Reference Group of the Arab Community, said, “We can do more for our community to control this progressive and chronic condition by participating in the DESMOND program, working together, and it create. ”

“The best people to help educate different cultural groups about diabetes are people from the community. That’s why Diabetes Queensland has trained people from each group to be DESMOND educators,” said Michelle.

“The main feedback from the consultation with the Maori and Pacific Islander communities was that they wanted to build on the strengths of the community rather than just trying to fix the ‘problems’ with outside help.”

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