The SMART2D Research Consortium has held at stakeholder engagement meeting as part of the Consortium’s 2016 meeting held at Golf Course Hotel, in Kampala.
SMART2D is a consortium of research organisations including Makerere University School of Public Health, Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, Prins Leopold Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp, Collaborative Care Systems Finland and University of Western Cape, South Africa.
Standing for Self-Management Approach and Reciprocal Transfer for Type 2 Diabetes, SMART2D, promoted a people-centered approach through self-management and reciprocal learning for the prevention and management of Type 2 Diabetes.
The aim of SMART2D is to strengthen the capacity for T2DM prevention and management through task-shifting among health care providers and community health workers, and expanding care networks through community-based peer support groups, by targeting three populations in different settings:
- rural (Uganda),
- urban townships (South Africa), and
- urban immigrant populations (Sweden)
The project’s objectives are;
- To develop cross-lessons between the low-, middle-and high-income countries
- To formulate facility and community strategies to improve access and adherence to prevention and management interventions for T2DM, and implement these strategies through controlled study design
- To engage in policy dialogue throughout the process
During the stakeholders’ meeting on 22nd January 2016 at the Golfcourse Hotel, several stakeholders were represented including ministry of Health, Uganda Diabetes Association, civil society, academia and research.
Presenting the Current Situation of Diabetes in Uganda, Dr. William Lumu, President Uganda Diabetes Association noted that China, India and USA have half the global diabetes cases, while the highest mortality from diabetes is in Sub-saharan Africa.
He said in Uganda, diabetes presents late, with multiple complications and high mortality. He pointed out that the government of Uganda is in the process of putting up diabetes treatment centres at HCIVs and a series of trainings have been held to develop the human resource capacity.
Dr. Lumu noted that the situation is complicated by the double burden of disease (infectious and non-communicable) as well as the limited funding.
Dr. Charles Mondo, a Cardiologist with Uganda Heart Institute noted that issues of insufficient manpower are complicated by transfers after training.
Prof. Marcel Otim pointed out one key challenge, “In Uganda, as a man grows a big tummy that is prestigious and you are congratulated”. He said this has greatly hindered prevention of diabetes and other NCDs.
Dr. Robert Newton, Senior Clinical Epidemiologist, Medical Research Council/ Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI) pointed out that the country is at the beginning of the epidemic which gives a window of opportunity to design interventions downstream. “Type 2 Diabetes, intervene now before it becomes a bigger problem. For instance, it is easier to stop people from starting to smoke than stopping them once they have started”, he said.
Dr. Anne Akiteng, the Programme Officer NCD Control Programme at the Ministry of Health, shared that the campaign has gone down to schools where debates, competitions and other activities are held. She said although there are limitations and challenges, emphasis should be put on what can be dome within those limitations. She said one key area to focus on is linking evidence to policymaking. “Lack of sufficient data has delayed the process of putting policy in place”, he said.