Enhancing diabetes care through community outreach and support

Approximately 116 million people in China have diabetes, but 60% of them do not know it.1 Healthy China 2030 aims to address diabetes and other public health issues by prompting communities to play a bigger role in disease prevention, education, screening, and management—areas where peer support programs are proving beneficial.

Managing diabetes requires effective primary care, specialty care, and attention to patients’ psychosocial and mental health needs to help them in coping with a chronic illness. Peer support programs offer practical and emotional support to help individuals living with diabetes better manage their health.

In 2016, the Merck Foundation provided additional support to help expand a diabetes peer support program initiated by the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health in partnership with researchers and diabetes specialists from Shanghai Jiao Tong University-affiliated Sixth People’s Hospital in Shanghai China.

Improving diabetes health outcomes through peer support

Through an $866,000, five-year (2016–2020) grant to the University of North Carolina (UNC) Gillings School of Global Public Health, the Merck Foundation is helping support the development, implementation, and evaluation2 of a diabetes peer support program in nine community health centers (CHCs) in Shanghai and facilitate the dissemination of the resulting model across the city’s 240 CHCs.

1 Cheng Hu, Weiping Jia. Diabetes in China: Epidemiology and Genetic Risk Factors and Their Clinical Utility in Personalized Medication. Diabetes Jan 2018, 67 (1) 3-11. https://diabetes.diabetesjournals.org/content/67/1/3

2 Liu, Y., et al. Peer support in Shanghai’s Commitment to diabetes and chronic disease self-management: program development, program expansion, and policy, Translational Behavioral Medicine, Volume 10, Issue 1, February 2020, Pages 13–24, https://doi.org/10.1093/tbm/ibz194