Evaluation of diabetic peer support in Malawi

Henry T Mwakalinga 1*, Yamikani M Nuka 2, Patrick C Banda 2, Thuy D Bui 3

  1. Mzuzu Central Hospital
  2. Kamuzu Central Hospital
  3. University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

Correspondence: *Henry T. Mwakalinga: (htmwakalinga@gmail.com)


Type 2 diabetes is a major health concern worldwide and requires urgent attention from health care providers and policy makers. Due to shortage of health care workers in low-income countries, peer support programs have been viewed as a viable option in management of diabetes and have shown to be effective in sub-Saharan Africa.
The aim of this study is to assess and evaluate the Kamuzu Central Hospital (KCH) diabetic peer support program’s (DPSP) impact 4 years after its establishment by assessing knowledge, self-efficacy and behaviours of DPSP members compared to non-members.
This is a cross-sectional study done among diabetic patients attending clinics between 12th August and 25th September 2018 at KCH. Self and interviewer-administered questionnaires (designed based on validated survey instruments) were used. The participants (n=176) were recruited consecutively after consenting.
Results showed DPSP members were more knowledgeable regarding the effects of skipping meals and sweet juice on blood glucose and conditions not associated with diabetes. In terms of self-efficacy and behaviour changes, DPSP members believe that they are more able to correct hypoglycaemia, to communicate their concerns to health workers, and to perform daily foot exam compared to non-members.
The KCH (Lilongwe) Diabetes Peer Support program has positively impacted its members and should be scaled up to engage all diabetic patients in Malawi. Ongoing training for peer supporters is necessary to update and reinforce management, knowledge and skills, and to ensure fidelity in program implementation.
Key words: Evaluating, diabetes peer support program, Kamuzu Central Hospital, Malawi

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