Background: In 2020, the average glycaemic index of Type 1 diabetes (T1D) in Southeast Asia (SEA) countries were reported to be at around 83mmol/mol. In many low-middle-income countries (LMICs) in SEA, insufficient infrastructure, lack of universal health coverage and professional knowledge are factors that affect T1D outcomes that adversely affect mortality and morbidity. Action4diabetes (A4D) currently provides comprehensive partnership programmes with defined local hospitals through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed with the governments in SEA that guarantees ongoing supplies of free insulin, blood glucose testing, HbA1c tests and hospital emergency funds. Internet access in SEA has boomed in the last decade and is now affordable with cheaper phones and data access. Because of this, digital access is now the most efficient solution to reach out, foster collaborations and educate healthcare professionals.
Objectives: During the pandemic, 2020-2021, A4D facilitated the establishment of a SEA diabetes healthcare professionals (HCP) regional network to facilitate cross-country collaborations, knowledge exchange and best practice sharing through 3 different initiatives:
• HCP advisory group
• SEA Regional Network Meetings
• Free-to-access A4D webinars programme
Results: The HCP advisory group comprise 26 multi-disciplinary HCPs from 8 different countries and professions.. Number of registrants attending the quarterly diabetes HCP regional network meeting in November 2021 showed that 80% of the HCPs who participated in the meetings were doctors and the average number attending was 60 with representation from Laos, Vietnam, Malaysia, Cambodia, Myanmar and the United Kingdom. The analytics from the webinar’s attendance is demonstrated that the top 3 countries engaged with the A4D Webinars from Cambodia, Malaysia and Vietnam, and an average registration per webinar was approximately 150.
Conclusion: These initiatives are crucial in building up sustainable health capacity that advocates for improved medical and psychosocial support, closing the diabetes healthcare gaps in SEA that continue to exist between developed countries and resource limited countries. Medical knowledge of diabetes care in SEA will continue to fall short without continued investments, upskilling and continuous medical education provisions. Strengthening health systems, education and developing sustainable and locally owned solutions are vital to improve health and quality of life for people with T1D in SEA and are the first steps to closing the T1D gaps in this part of the globe.
15 Sep 2022 - 17 Sep 2022