Letters to the Editor
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A DIABETES CENTRE IN THE COMMUNITY
The Centre aims to help diabetes patients in the control of their
The first neighbourhood diabetes centre has been set up in Singapore. It will help the family doctor and the patient in the struggle against diabetes. This is the Diabetes Education and Care Centre located in Hong Kah Community Club at Jurong West Street 52.
Diabetes is the sixth cause of death and also probably contributes to death from ischaemic heart disease and strokes. There are some ten percent of patients who have diabetes in Singapore and about half are not diagnosed.Aims and services
The Centre is in line with the current thinking in diabetic care. Experience in the United States and United Kingdom have shown the community-based diabetic care to be an effective control strategy. A centre in the community can work more closely with the local family doctor and the patient. It is the first 10 - 15 years of blood sugar and risk factor control that count in the effective prevention and delay of complications in NIDDM.
The Centre aims to help diabetic patients in the control of their blood sugar. This is the crucial step in the prevention and delay in the onset of complications. The Centre enables patients in their fight against poor diabetic control through a diabetes health education package, advice on foot care and blood sugar monitoring skills. In addition, it also provides retinal photography, HBA1c and diabetes blood sugar screening services. The Centre receives referrals for these services from the neighbourhood general practitioners and directly. For those patients seen directly, the results are given to them to be handed to their doctors.
The Centre is run by a team of three trained nurses from the Ministry of Health: Nursing Officer Yeo Chwee Fong, Nursing Officer Yeoh Geok Cheng and Staff Nurse Ng Soh Mui, and a receptionist Miss Vimala Bai. The telephone number of the Centre is 564-9818.Pilot
The Centre in the community is a pilot project by the Ministry of Health, the Diabetic Society of Singapore and the Sembawang-Hong Kah Community Development Council (CDC). It was opened by the Deputy Prime Minister, Dr Tony Tan on Feb 22, 1998.
It will help the family doctor and the patient in the struggle against diabetes
The support of the Community Development Council (CDC) in this project is an important factor because it can reach out to people with diabetes and their family doctors. It can also advise people with risk of diabetes to come forward for screening at the Centre. Those at risk of NIDDM are subjects who are overweight, 40 years and older, positive family history of diabetes and history of delivering large babies at birth. If they are found to be diabetic, they will be referred to their family doctors for further management. A review of the visits to the centre in the first few weeks shows that two-thirds are referrals from the doctor.
The Diabetic Society of Singapore (DSS) and the Ministry of Health have worked hard to set this pilot project in motion. The services provided at the Centre will fill the vacuum that presently exists in diabetic care. The family doctor can now utilise the services at the Centre to develop his patients skills in healthy food choice and glucose self monitoring. He can also refer the patient for retinal photography and laboratory testing as part of the annual and more frequent surveillance system.
A/PROF GOH LEE GAN
(In April Issue: New Thinking in Diabetic Care)