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Posted By Cheena Malhotra on May 15, 2013

Labels: India , Global Health Expertise, Chronic Disease, Health Care Education

Project HOPE's Program Officer and Diabetes Expert in India, Cheena Malhotra, has been leading a discussion about the attributes of a good Diabetes Counselor on D-NET, a dynamic online forum created by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) for diabetes health professionals to meet new colleagues from around the world.  Through this platform health professionals can discuss diabetes management, education, and research.  A great platform for brainstorming and collaboration, the current D-NET session started on May 6 and runs through May 20.  Cheena’s blog provides insight on the crucial role of the Diabetes Counselor.

I am honoured to lead the discussion, The Attributes of a Good Diabetes Counsellor, on D-NET and to share ideas about the future of diabetes education.  As a Nutritionist and Diabetes Educator, I come into contact with a wide range of people of different ages, gender, demographics and ethnic backgrounds.  The statistics on the total number of persons affected by diabetes is staggering – about 61.3 million according to the IDF.  Needless to say, diabetes cannot be managed by clinical intervention alone.

Effective diabetes counseling requires a comprehensive approach to improve the patient’s understanding of the causes of the disease and how to control or manage it.  Counseling can cover any of the following medical conditions: 

·         Pre- Diabetes

·         Diabetes among Obese People

·         Diabetes with Pregnancy (Gestational Diabetes)

·         Diabetes among Children and Adolescents

·         Diabetes in the Elderly

·         Complications of Diabetes

Diabetes can impact many aspects of a patient’s health and family life.  Effective diabetes counsellors must address important issues with a patient to nurture better health.  Some of these issues may include the patient’s awareness of diabetes, nutritional counseling, lifestyle change, psychological (depression, anxiety) counseling, treatment adherence, marriage counseling, and genetic counseling.  In my experience, this process can be extremely empowering for the patient, his/her family and very rewarding for the diabetes counsellor.

The attributes of a good diabetes counsellor encompass a disciplined approach to nurture and assist patients and families to overcome barriers.  One such course of diabetes education in which counseling is inbuilt is Project HOPE's International Diabetes Educator E learning Program (IDEEL) which is likely to be online soon.

For all of those individuals aiming to be leading diabetes educators, I recommend IDEEL by Project HOPE for an in-depth understanding of diabetes management across different age groups.

Project HOPE has set some ambitious targets to train diabetes educators in India.  Adapted from Project HOPE’s highly successful India Diabetes Educator Project, which provided training to 3,621 allied health professionals, the new International Diabetes Education E-Learning (IDEEL) program aims to increase patient access to qualified diabetes educators.  The goal of IDEEL, which is scheduled to launch in June, is to train 4,500 educators annually in India and a total of 100,000 educators worldwide by 2018.

For more information on IDEEL, please contact: Cheena Malhotra, cmalhotra@projecthope.org

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