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The purpose of this study was to assess the effects of using village health volunteers as peer support for glycemic control among diabetes type 2 patients. This is a quasi-experimental study, two-group, pre-posttest, carried out in the northeast and the central parts of Thailand. A total of 58 and 30 diabetes type 2 patients from comparable communities were recruited into the intervention and comparison groups, respectively. The inclusion criteria included aged 35 – 75 years, FBS lied between 30 – 300 mg/dl, systolic blood pressure did not exceed 200 mmHg. Trans-theoretical Model, participatory learning and inclusive planning were used to guide the intervention activities to raise their awareness, build self-efficacy, and maintain their self-care management behaviors. Twenty VHVs who were responsible for the patients in the experimental group were trained in planning and providing supports to the patients. After the training, they formed a network of three to support and encourage the patients to plan and manage their illness. The intervention lasted six months from July to December 2011.
Patients in the experimental group had significantly improved their self-care management and reduced HbA1C from 8.2 to 7.6 (p<.01), while those of the comparison group were not significantly changed.
The project has demonstrated the effectiveness of peer supports by village health volunteers in supporting diabetes patients to control their glycemic level, and this approach should be implemented in a wider scale. More research is needed to determine whether the effects of peer support can be sustained beyond six months.
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