Ministry of Health and Novo Nordisk team up to launch the ‘Sama-Sama’ project to empower family members of people living with Diabetes

Diabetes currently affects about 3.6 million Malaysians  – the highest in the region, and one of the highest in the world according to the Ministry of Health. This figure is also set to increase as the ministry projects about 7 million Malaysians are likely to have diabetes in 2025.

With the rising number of Malaysians being diagnosed with diabetes, it is crucial that we double our efforts to prevent it from escalating. The growing burden of diabetes and its impact is not only on the patient, but their family members as well. While we have continued to raise awareness of diabetes among patients and the community, the family institution also plays an important role, not only by helping patients manage their condition, but also educating family members on diabetes.

The ‘Sama-Sama’ project, a public-private collaboration between MOH and Novo-Nordisk, hopes to empower family caregivers with the knowledge, skills, and support to help improve diabetes management of the patient. It also aims to increase awareness of diabetes amongst the family members, as well as enhancing their overall quality of life. By empowering family members of people living with diabetes, we hope to create a better supportive environment to improve the quality of life of both the patient and the family as a whole.

Sama-sama, we can beat diabetes.
Image Source: freepik.

This project was launched on World Diabetes Day 2019 in Ministry of Health, Putrajaya. The pilot project of Sama-sama will kick-off in the first quarter of 2020, and will involve an estimated 100 patients and their family members who are residing in Putrajaya. The participants will be recruited through the four klinik kesihatan (primary care clinics) located within the Putrajaya vicinity.

This design and implementation of Sama-sama will involve both patient groups and experts within the field. The co-developed modules will cover basics of diabetes care such as providing the right nutrition for a person living with diabetes and appropriate physical activity that can be incorporated into daily living. At the same time, it will also address areas that are often unaddressed, such as the mental well-being of the patient and carers.

There are many challenges in developing and implementing a project within a primary care health facility setting such as running the actual programme without disrupting usual care practice or increasing the work burden of healthcare workers. Sustainability and the ability to scale being another concern. However, business-as-usual isn’t an option.

For more information or ideas on how we can do this better, please drop your comments and share your feedback with us.

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