Adesina OF, Talabi JE, Adediji D, Jaiyeola BJ
Introduction: The healthcare system in Nigeria is divided into three tiers of primary, secondary and tertiary healthcare. Diabetes care is delivered at secondary and tertiary levels. Diabetes care in Ogun state is carried out at the secondary care level in the General Hospitals and at the two tertiary Hospitals in the State.
To the best of our knowledge, the Talabi Diabetes Centre (TDC) is the only Centre at the moment that delivers comprehensive diabetes care at the primary care level in Ogun State. Fifty four percent of Nigerians live in rural areas where the first level of healthcare is the Primary Health Centre. It thus becomes necessary to make diabetes care available at this level where it is currently lacking.
The first step towards this is the training and updating of Primary Healthcare Workers about diabetes. This will enable the workers to recognize the symptoms of diabetes and predisposing factors. With this in place, the primary health workers will be able to address the main health problems in the community and provide promotive, preventive, curative and rehabilitative services.
Methodology: The Talabi Diabetes Centre is designed to work in close conjunction with the Local Government health services, as well as the State Government’s General Hospital and the State Teaching Hospital which serve as secondary and tertiary referral Centers respectively. In conjunction with the Ogun State Local Government Service Commission, which oversees Primary Health Centres, TDCembarked on a series of 3 day update courses on diabetes and hypertension in the 4 Health zones in Ogun State. Pre- and post - test questionnaires were administered to the participants.
Results: One hundred and sixty seven primary healthcare workers; comprising 88 Nurses and 79 Community Health Officers and Community Health Extension workers were educated on diabetes. Pre and Post - test Questionnaire analysis showed an appreciable improvement in participants’ knowledge.
Discussion: Empowerment of health workers within the primary care setting with knowledge about diabetes and minimal equipments for its diagnosis will encourage and ensure timely diagnosis and management of the disease and its complications. A minimum package of care at the primary care level should include glucometers among others.
Conclusion: Early detection and treatment of diabetes by Primary Healthcare workers empowered with working knowledge of diabetes andprovision forits care, is cost and life saving.