Improving diabetes care in Kenya
This project is a 2020 recipient of grant funding from the Royal College’s new International Development, Aid and Collaboration (IDAC) program. This grant supports projects that improve health profession education and local capacity in low- and middle-income countries.
Diabetes is on the rise worldwide, and having significant impacts on populations and economies. This is a particular issue in developing countries such as Kenya, where populations that live outside major cities can have difficulty accessing diabetes care.
Hasina Visram, MD, FRCPC, an endocrinologist from Ottawa, Ont., is using the Royal College IDAC funding to develop continuing education materials that will lead to improvements in diabetes care in Kisumu, Kenya. Her goal is to improve the early detection of diabetes, as well as improve management and care of the disease, and its related complications and comorbidities.
“We have a strong sense after discussions with our partners at Aga Khan Health Services (AKHS) that this project, if successful, could reduce the economic and health burden of diabetes in the Kisumu region,” said Dr. Visram.
A program founded on demonstrated needs
In 2019, West Ottawa Specialty Care — where Dr. Visram runs her practice — conducted a faculty development needs assessment in collaboration with AKHS. As a next step, the team will use what they learned to develop questionnaires that will identify the specific continuing educational needs of health care providers in the Kisumu region.
From the questionnaire, Dr. Visram will create a three- to six-part continuing medical education program targeted at diabetes management. Her intention is to deliver the curriculum to providers in Kisumu via online seminars and hands-on workshops.
“In addition to financing our travels to Kenya, we’ve asked the Royal College to provide in-kind support in continuing medical education,” said Dr. Visram. “We want to ensure we’re using best practices as we design the questionnaire and resulting curriculum.”
Quality feedback is key
Dr. Visram is aiming for 80 per cent participation in the questionnaire by the Kisumu region’s health outreach centres. She says the project’s success depends on the quality of the feedback she receives as well as the enthusiasm of participants.
Due to COVID-19 and travel restrictions, a number of project activities originally planned for earlier this year have been delayed. Some activities have since restarted, while others are waiting for an appropriate and safe time to resume.