Introduction: UNRWA has a mandate to provide assistance and protection to a population of around 5 million Palestine refugees (PRs) in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank and Gaza. UNRWA is the main primary healthcare provider for them. DM is a common problem among PRs with a prevalence of 11.0%. A high percentage of these patients are obese (64.0%) or overweight (26.0%). In 2013, UNRWA conducted the first round of a DM campaign to raise DM patients’ awareness on healthy lifestyle and to improve their ability to manage DM. In 2014, a second round was conducted with the same aims.
Method: Using a Quasi-experimental study, DM1, DM2 or DM2 and HTN patients’ diagnosed ≥ 1 year prior to study initiation were included. 1,600 participants from the 32 UNRWA’s largest health centers (HCs) were included. Each HC conducted weekly group sessions for six months, including education, healthy cooking, and physical exercise. Body measurements, 2hrPPGT, blood pressure and the attendance of sessions, were collected on a weekly basis. Demographical data, pre- and post- questionnaires and cholesterol levels were collected before and after the campaign. Paired T-test in SPSS Version 21 was used.
Results: Out of 1,600 patients, 1,599 [1187 (74.0%) females and 412 (26.0%) males] completed the campaign; 576 (36.0%) patients had DM2, 960 (60.0%) had DM2 and HTN and 62 (4.0%) had DM1. After the campaign, the average weight loss was 2.6 kg (95% CI: 2.4-2.7). In addition, 22% lost ≥5%, 25% lost 3%-5%, and 30% lost 1%-3% of their weight. Significant improvements were seen in blood glucose, cholesterol and waist circumference (p≤0.001 for all). The attendance rate of the sessions was 70.6% in total.
Conclusions: This campaign has focused on healthy lifestyle awareness raising using group sessions with various activities, has resulted in better DM care outcomes of PRs with DM. Such campaigns need to be sustained and expanded. Local community and NGOs partnerships observed during the campaign should be strengthened and sustained.
N.M. Abu Kishk: None. Y.M. Shahin: None. Y. Turki: None. J. Mitri: Research Support; Self; National Dairy Council, Kowa Pharmaceuticals America, Inc.. Research Support; Spouse/Partner; AbbVie Inc., Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Takeda Pharmaceuticals U.S.A., Inc., Gilead Sciences, Inc.. Consultant; Spouse/Partner; Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Merck & Co., Inc., Biogen, AbbVie Inc.. A. Seita: None.