Greetings from Dubai, host to the World Diabetes Congress 2011, an international event held every two years by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF). IDF is an umbrella organization of over 200 diabetes associations representing 160 countries. This is the first congress held in the Middle East where one in five people now live with diabetes. It is estimated that nearly 15,000 people will attend this congress and Project HOPE staff representing our diabetes programs in Mexico, South Africa, China, India and the United States are excited to be here.
In addition to sharing the outcomes of Project HOPE’s diabetes initiatives, learning cutting-edge information, hearing about other organizations’ work and making important connections, our Mexico team is presenting a poster about our impactful school-based program working with third-graders to incorporate healthy habits to prevent obesity and chronic disease. Our India team is giving an oral presentation about our India Diabetes Educator Project which upon completion will have created a diabetes educator profession of over 4,000 strong. These educators are helping diabetes patients in India improve their diabetes self-care, thereby improving patient health outcomes. (More to come on our poster and oral presentation sessions.)
The congress officially kicked off Sunday evening. I was fortunate to attend a pre-conference workshop sponsored by IDF for diabetes educators. I found myself in a room with educators from such places as China, Hong Kong, South Africa, USA, Turkey, Malaysia, Australia, Pakistan, Emirates and Bahrain. We learned about how far the diabetes educator profession has come in the past 20 years and how it continues to evolve towards a multi-health care team approach focusing on patient-centered education and self-management. (Indeed, that is the approach Project HOPE uses in our diabetes education programs.) Given the multi-cultural world we live in, it was interesting to hear that regardless of country, diabetes educators face the same challenges in communication, lack of time and resources and cultural barriers. IDF has developed a web site called D-Net to help meet the needs of diabetes educators around the globe, to access resources, stay up-to-date, and promote cross-sharing among a diverse group of diabetes health care professionals.
It has been a great start to what will prove to be a very informative and inspiring week of oral and poster programs and research presentations, symposia, debates, open forums, workshops, exhibition hall booths and a “Global Village” where national diabetes associations from around the globe will be able to interact with each other and congress attendees. If you are here at the Congress, stop by the Project HOPE booth and see us. We are at booth G40.
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