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Community health workers play critical role in disease control - study

The research hinge on peer-reviewed articles published from 2000 to 2017 on the use of community health workers providing disease self-management guidance to patients.

Blood glucose monitor and flex pen for injecting insulin. Picture: freeimages.com.

CAPE TOWN - Medical experts at the University of the Western Cape (UWC) have called for more intensified training of community health workers dealing with type two diabetes mellitus disease control.

A study conducted by the campus's School of Public Health found these workers play a pivotal role in the education, support and advocacy around the condition.

The research hinge on peer-reviewed articles published from 2000 to 2017 on the use of community health workers providing disease self-management guidance to patients.

Around 2.5 million people in the country are living with diabetes.

Findings also show health workers are most effective in promoting disease control when they provide a combination of education and supporting roles.

UWC senior lecturer Dr Peter Delobelle says there are around 72,000 community health workers in South Africa.

“We sense that community health workers can play several meaningful roles in supporting the self-management of people living with type two diabetes mellitus. So community health workers form essential links between the community and the health facilities.”

The findings come ahead of the fifth annual South African TB Conference kicking off in Durban on Tuesday.

(Edited by Thapelo Lekabe)

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