Samoan people are at higher risk of diabetes and often experience avoidable complications that can be fatal. NSW Health Pathology is partnering with Western Sydney University on a diabetes prevention and management program for Australian-Samoan communities in South Western Sydney.
NSW Health Pathology is proudly providing Point of Care Testing to support the successful Western Sydney University Pasifika Diabetes Prevention Program.
Professor David Simmons and Dr Freya MacMillan at Western Sydney University established a pilot study to test a lifestyle diabetes prevention and management program for Samoan communities delivered through churches in South Western Sydney.
Dr MacMillan and Prof Simmons’ team developed a program called Le Taeao Afua or “the new dawn”. Using churches as a central meeting point, the evidence-based program is designed to help the Australian-Samoan community to prevent and manage diabetes.
A Samoan community activator trained 20 church volunteers to become peer support facilitators. Volunteers developed workshops and more than 100 activities covering 12 public health messages dealing with diet and exercise. Activities included cooking classes, introduction to new vegetables, reviving Samoan cultural dishes or promoting steaming and grilling instead of deep frying.
Of 187 participants enrolled at the start of the program, 96% were overweight or obese and 32% had Type 2 diabetes and 13% didn’t know they had diabetes until they were tested.
After 3 to 8 months, the participants had statistically significant reductions in average blood glucose levels (HbA1c), showing the project had improved people’s health.
“By empowering communities, our goal is to embed this program into the health care system and sustain it. We hope it can then be translated across New South Wales and Australia,” Dr MacMillan said.
The program will be expanded to 48 more churches of other Pacific communities across Greater Western and South Eastern Sydney. The team aims to reach more than 3,600 adults and their children.
Watch the story here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IOU9RRnPUoI.