World Diabetes Day in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

To mark World Diabetes Day, King’s Global Health Partnerships held an engagement event for diabetes patients in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

There are 336 million people living with diabetes in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) – 80% of the world’s diabetes population – which increases the risk of infection and worsens outcomes for infections such as Tuberculosis and COVID-19. Living with diabetes is associated with significant morbidity as well as reduced life expectancy, and management of the condition requires a holistic approach and can be resource intensive.

At the beginning of the pandemic, colleagues in the southwestern province of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) asked King’s Global Health Partnerships for support. It was recognised that diabetes patients were a high-risk group for COVID-19 and therefore support grew and extended to the diabetes patient group to deliver patient education and peer-to-peer support.DRC training

Multidisciplinary groups from across King’s Health Partners – including the King's Health Partners Diabetes, Endocrinology and Obesity, King’s College London, the King’s College Hospital Diabetic Foot Clinic and the South West London Health & Care partnership – work together to provide world-class and innovative care. Their joint expertise was harnessed to prepare a one-day training session for patients living with diabetes in the Kongo Central province. Expert volunteers worked with Dr Mande, the provincial lead for diabetes, to prepare training materials delivered by clinicians and peer educators, including the medical director of the Kinkanda Hospital, in Matadi. The one-day programme covered nutrition and self-care for optimal diabetes management, as well as COVID-19 prevention and simple management. Participants also received training in how to share their new knowledge and skills with other patients.

Commenting on this work, Dr Sophie Harris, Deputy Clinical Director of Diabetes at the Health Innovation Network and Diabetes and Internal Medicine Consultant at King's College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, said:

Working with King's Global Health Partnerships provided an opportunity for the south London diabetes teams to use their expertise to help others unable to access the same level of diabetes care offered at King’s. It was great to see the enthusiasm of the team to provide clinically appropriate teaching resources. I hope that we will be able to continue to work in this way with KGHP.

DRC event 2Carrying on from this and to mark World Diabetes Day on 14th November 2021, King’s Global Health Partnerships supported an event run by the provincial diabetes team at the Hôpital Provincial de Reférence Kinkanda in Matadi. The aim of the event was to raise awareness of screening, nutrition and early management of diabetes, among the population of Matadi. At the event, clinicians from our partner hospital and King’s Global Health Partnerships conducted patient screening and provided health advice for patients living with diabetes.

Speaking about the event, Dr Achim Mambu Vangu, King’s Global Health Partnerships in-country coordinator, said:

The King’s-Kongo Central Partnership is proud to contribute to the fight against diabetes mellitus in the provincial reference hospital of Kinkanda and personally I am delighted to be able to support a significant part of the population which is often neglected. 

Bringing together expertise from King’s College London, King’s Health Partners and its international partners, King’s Global Health Partnerships will continue to build on its important work in DRC and we will be sharing more about its future programmes. Click here to find out how the partnership is also supporting healthcare workers and institutions in Somaliland, Sierra Leone and Zambia.