Maori, Pacific Islander, Arabic-speaking clients and DESMOND

Understanding or adapting type 2 diabetes advice from health professionals to suit Maori, Pacific Islander and Arabic-speaking clients can be challenging.

Those challenges mean that advice is sometimes not being followed.

CALD partnership

Diabetes Queensland has partnered with Brisbane South PHN to identify culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities to help address these challenges.

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

Food choices and more

DESMOND stands for Diabetes Education and Self-Management for the Ongoing and Newly Diagnosed. It is a one-day program. It helps people learn about healthy food choices, physical activity, medication and other proactive steps they can take towards general well-being after being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

“These communities experience higher rates of avoidable diabetes-related hospitalisations and preventable complications than other Queenslanders,” said Diabetes Queensland Accredited Practising Dietitian and Credentialled Diabetes Educator, Michelle Tong.

Positive change

“The strong motivation from these communities to see positive change prompted us to find out whether the DESMOND program would be effective for these CALD groups.”

Brisbane South PHN CEO, Mike Bosel, said: “This partnership is important as it’s responding to the need identified by primary care providers and the community.

Better health outcomes

“A culturally adapted DESMOND program for people with newly diagnosed diabetes supports quality care and better health outcomes.”

To inform this work, two community ‘expert reference groups’ were formed. They included people living with diabetes, their families, health professionals and other interested community members.

Targeted for cultural needs

Participants advised on how to adapt DESMOND to incorporate culturally appropriate foods, religious practices and beliefs, and family structures to answer cultural needs.

From this feedback, Diabetes Queensland and the Brisbane South PHN piloted an adapted program with tailored resources for each group.

It is the first time in Australia that DESMOND has been culturally adapted to suit ethnic communities.

‘We can do more’

Manal Aqrawe was a medical doctor for more than 20 years in Iraq and was a member of the Arabic community’s expert reference group. “We can do more for our community to control this progressive and chronic condition by attending, collaborating and creating through the DESMOND program.”

“The best people to facilitate diabetes education for diverse cultural groups are people from within the community. Diabetes Queensland has trained people from each group to become DESMOND educators,” Michelle said.

Building on strengths

“Key feedback from consultation with the Maori and Pacific Islander community was that they wanted to build on the strengths within the community, rather than just try to fix the ‘problems’ with external help.”

Media: Monica Rostron 0409 126 332

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