An estimated 400,000 Singaporeans have diabetes, one third of whom do not know they have the condition. The SingHealth approach to the national War on Diabetes is whole-of-life and focused on prevention.
Singapore has one of the highest rates of gestational diabetes in the world. It is estimated that more than 6,000 pregnant women suffer from the condition every year, of which more than 4,000 will develop diabetes in their lifetime.
Launched by KK Women and Children's Hospital (KKH) in October 2016, the
Transforming Care for Gestational Diabetes Programme is the first structured model of care in Singapore to improve the detection, care and support for pregnant women with gestational diabetes.
On top of offering diabetes screening to all pregnant women who receive antenatal care at KKH, the programme provides timely intervention and close follow-up care aimed at improving the health outcomes for these women. The programme also includes education by nurses to help this high-risk group to adopt healthier lifestyles to prevent the onset of Type 2 diabetes. The programme aims to benefit about 5,400 women over a three-year period.
Millennia Kids Programme run by Sengkang General Hospital equips primary school pupils with skills to be Healthy Living Advocates through healthy living workshops, activities and family carnivals. Diabetes and other chronic diseases can be prevented by inculcating healthy lifestyle habits from a young age.
The Health Peers programme run by Changi General Hospital and South East Community Development Council tackles diabetes at the community level.
Under the programme, volunteers reach out to residents who have diabetes or may be at risk of the condition, to create awareness of diabetes prevention and management. The volunteers are trained by a team of medical professionals from CGH, such as a sports medicine physician, dietician, and clinical psychologist.
Through house visits, the volunteers carry out risk assessment surveys, provide tips on healthier habits and encourage residents to attend health screenings. More than 100 volunteers, comprising grassroots leaders and nursing students from ITE College East, have been trained so far.
One in seven Singaporeans have pre-diabetes and are at high risk of getting diabetes. At SingHealth Polyclinics, individuals with pre-diabetes are enrolled in the
Pre-Diabetes Management Programme, which empowers them to make lifestyle and dietary changes to prevent the onset of Type 2 diabetes. A health counsellor works with them to develop a tailored action plan and set targets for weight loss and reduction of blood glucose levels.
Participants of the Pre-DICTED programme taking part in group exercises
In 2017, the SingHealth Duke-NUS Diabetes Centre embarked on a three-year study to understand the effectiveness of a specially tailored diabetes prevention programme. Targeted at individuals with pre-diabetes, the
Pre-DICTED programme consists of group exercises and health coaching classes conducted by Health Promotion Board. Patients at high risk of developing diabetes despite lifestyle changes are started on metformin. The data gathered from the study will help us understand the impact of such interventions on the local population, and guide the continual review of ways to prevent the progression of diabetes in Singapore.
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