Peer support for self-management of diabetes improved outcomes in international settings.

TitlePeer support for self-management of diabetes improved outcomes in international settings.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsFisher, EB, Boothroyd RI, Coufal MM, Baumann LC, Mbanya JC, Rotheram-Borus MJ, Sanguanprasit B, Tanasugarn C
JournalHealth affairs (Project Hope)
Date Published2012 Jan
KeywordsAdult, Africa, Aged, Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2, Female, Humans, Internationality, Male, Middle Aged, Outcome Assessment (Health Care), Peer Group, Self Care, Social Support, Thailand

Self-management of diabetes is essential to reducing the risks of associated disabilities. But effective self-management is often short-lived. Peers can provide the kind of ongoing support that is needed for sustained self-management of diabetes. In this context, peers are nonprofessionals who have diabetes or close familiarity with its management. Key functions of effective peer support include assistance in daily management, social and emotional support, linkage to clinical care, and ongoing availability of support. Using these four functions as a template of peer support, project teams in Cameroon, South Africa, Thailand, and Uganda developed and then evaluated peer support interventions for adults with diabetes. Our initial assessment found improvements in symptom management, diet, blood pressure, body mass index, and blood sugar levels for many of those taking part in the programs. For policy makers, the broader message is that by emphasizing the four key peer support functions, diabetes management programs can be successfully introduced across varied cultural settings and within diverse health systems.

Alternate JournalHealth Aff (Millwood)