The first national diabetes training programme for primary care physicians in Africa closed on Tuesday this week, with preliminary outcomes presented at a virtual ceremony to mark the successful completion of the pilot project.
The online training programme was launched in 2019 and has trained over 1,380 general practitioners (GPs) throughout Kenya.
Tuesday’s event involved representatives from the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), Diabetes Kenya Association (DKA), Kenya Diabetes Study Group, Sanofi Kenya and the Kenyan Ministry of Health.
Speaking at the event, Professor Andrew Boulton, IDF President, emphasised the need for the training of healthcare professionals in Africa.
"Over the next 20 years, Sub-Saharan Africa will register the largest rise in diabetes prevalence by global region. This spike in diabetes prevalence will put increased pressure on the Region’s healthcare resources,” he said.
Boulton said a trained healthcare workforce is key to managing diabetes, identifying those at high risk and preventing or delaying the life-threatening complications associated with diabetes.
IDF estimates that over 550,000 adults are living with diabetes in Kenya.
More than one in three (44%) of these people have not yet been diagnosed and are therefore at increased risk of developing debilitating complications.
By 2045, the total number of people with diabetes in Kenya is expected to more than double.
Most people with diabetes in Kenya seek care from GPs. Therefore, the online training was developed by the IDF School of Diabetes to support GPs, providing up-to-date, evidence-based information on the prevention, early detection and management of diabetes.
The course has been accredited by the Kenya Diabetes Study Group and the European Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (EACCME).
An initial assessment of the results of the course has been very encouraging, suggesting strong improvements in knowledge and con?dence among participants.
“We are committed,” said IDF President Andrew Boulton, “to supporting countries across the Region to help improve the knowledge and skills of healthcare professionals on the front line of the diabetes response,”.
He added, “Diabetes presents a significant threat to health across the African Region. Helping build capacity to tackle this threat is part of IDF’s contribution to the Global Diabetes Compact launched by the World Health Organisation earlier this month. We are delighted at the successful implementation of the online training programme for Kenya and look forward to working with our partners to extend training into other countries across the region.”
Also speaking at the event, Dr. Hala Ramzy, the Sanofi Africa General Medicines head of Medical highlighted that every person living with Diabetes is unique and patients are at the heart of what Sanofi does.
“Sanofi puts the patient first”, Dr. Hala said and “there is still an opportunity for the 550,000 People living with diabetes to achieve diabetes control and the remaining 44% who are unaware of their condition to get diagnosed”.
She further stated that there is an opportunity to leverage the professional scientific partners in East Africa to build capacity among other carders of healthcare providers following the excellent example in Kenya
The Chairperson of the Diabetes Kenya Association, Dr. Kirtida Acharya, noted that the training in Kenya went on despite COVID – 19 associated challenges and the use of digital learning is rapidly gaining acceptance in the healthcare sector.
Following the successful implementation of the online training in Kenya, the programme will be rolled out in Nigeria and Ghana during 2021, targeting general practitioners, nurses and pharmacists.