Background:The prevalence of type 2 diabetes is increasing among Australians born in Asia.1 ABS data shows 36% of the four million people who speak languages other than English at home speak Chinese (Cantonese & Mandarin), it is the second largest language category reported on NDSS.2 3 This is of concern as language is one of the primary barriers for Chinese-Australians in accessing health care services, resulting in high risk of diabetes complications.4
Objectives:‘Diabetes – How much do you know?’ is a pilot program which aims to engage and educate the Chinese communities in Brisbane, Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast by improving access to culturally appropriate information on health care services and self-management, thereby empowering Chinese-Australians to access care and self-manage.
Methods: This program uses group education sessions delivered in Cantonese and Mandarin by an Accredited Practicing dietitian, development and distribution of print resources and social marketing strategies for Chinese-Australians with type 2 diabetes. A learner centred approach was used to encourage discussions on self-management, cultural myths, healthy eating, physical activities and accessing health care services. Engagement with local organisations, churches, radio stations and health professionals were used to increase participation rate and awareness. Pre and post evaluations were conducted to evaluate the program.
Results:Program evaluation demonstrated an improvement in participants’ knowledge about self-managing type 2 diabetes and accessing health care services. Majority of participants found the program “very suitable and helpful” demonstrating the cultural relevance of the program.
Conclusion:Language can become a barrier for Chinese communities to access health care services and information for effective type 2 diabetes self-management. Therefore, opportunities to be given culturally appropriate information and support should not be neglected. This program reaches Chinese communities with culturally relevant resources which promotes understanding of the condition, health services available and empowers positive self-management practices.