Training Helps Doctors take Care of Diabetics better, Shows Study
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17 March 2010
By Karthika Gopalakrishnan
Diabetic health care at the primary level can be improved through sensitisation and educational programmes for general physicians, as demonstrated by a study on 309 government physicians by MV Hospital for Diabetes and Diabetes Research Centre.
Conducted in Chennai, Vellore and Villupuram districts from June 2008 to April 2009, the study, published in the International Journal of Health Research, found an increase in physicians’ knowledge after the training and voluntary initiation of capacity-building and community programmes.
“Medical officers who underwent training asked about the family history of patients and their symptoms after the module. They started counselling patients who were at risk which is important. A few physicians began sending patients for screening, while a few others organised screening camps themselves,” said epidemiologist Shabana Tharkar, who was involved in the study along with Dr Vijay Viswanathan, head of the hospital, Karunanithi Kathiresan and Pintochan Abraham.
A majority of the participants (62%) who attended the training serve in rural areas. The impact of the programme was measured through two instruments. One was a questionnaire to assess the immediate effect on doctors’ knowledge. The second was developed to evaluate the impact on behavioural and self-care attitude, changes in clinical practice, methods of improving diabetes care. While the response rate was 82.5% for immediate assessment, it was 70.8% for impact assessment.
“We recommend that the government conduct such workshops frequently so that doctors will not lose touch. It will help if a doctor trained by us in turn impart training to village health nurses because they have very high value in villages. We are extending the programme to other districts so that more physicians can benefit,” Shabana added.