Diabetcentro is a diabetes centre that includes clinical care and education for people with diabetes since 1996, and education and research projects for health care professionals, since 2006.
The Education Programme at Diabetcentro is recognized and administered by The School of Postgraduate Studies, at the Universidad de San Carlos, Guatemala’s National University, School of Pharmacy, and has local recognition from the Guatemalan School of Medicine and the Guatemalan School of Pharmacists and Chemists (including pharmacists, dietitians and biological chemists).
The project has interdisciplinary trainees, including doctors, nurses, pharmacists, dietitians, laboratory professionals and psychologists.
Currently we are working on a research project which includes people with diabetes from most of the country’s regions, to determine classification of diabetes in adults, degree of glycemic control, risk factors, treatment, and personal history of hypertension.
Courses are based on the IDF curriculum. Educational texts have been developed and written in Spanish - these have been revised by DECS and approved for the use of IDF’s logo for the 2011 – 2012 edition.
The course is developed over 1 academic year, with group learning activities twice a month, and virtual (internet based learning) activities twice a month.
The group activities are used for active, reflexive and pragmatic learning, practicing techniques and acquiring new skills in diabetes management, for example:
- Building a healthy meal
- Using a glucometer
- Self administering insulin
- Measuring ankle – brachial index
- Experiencing what a person with low vision feels and sees
The virtual activities are used mainly for problem based learning; case solving and theoretical exercises (such as practicing insulin dose calculation, clinical and decision making).
As a part of our learning process, we need to understand the importance of research, in all aspects of knowledge.
Clinical and epidemiological research:
This is the foundation for evidence – based medicine. We can’t apply international evidence out of context, and certainly not in a critical way. We need to know if our therapeutic decisions are really working in our workplace.
And we need to work according to the International Clinical Practices, both in clinical care and in clinical research. Our first country - wide epidemiological survey results will be submitted for publication this year.
Our scientific evidence demonstrates all Health Professionals have similar learning needs about diabetes and its complications. Our first report on educational research has been accepted for publication at the Diabetes Voice Journal.
Social and cultural research:
Health professionals are part of a culture that influences the “diabetes culture” in our country. What we think, know and do in our practice will affect the people we serve.
Our local and diabetes – related - culture, are subject to modification. Analysis of specific needs and ways to propose change are necessary, both for people with diabetes and for the health system.
We are actively working to determine a full set of all the specific work competencies needed for adequate care for people with diabetes, so far the programme has identified 6 specific work competencies on diabetes care. These are taught and evaluated in order to demonstrate clinical skills, aiming for future local and international standardization and certification in clinical practice:
Understand and explain what glucose and A1c values mean, and have the basic skills to make proper first – hand treatment decisions. This is meant to answer to questions such as:
- Does this person have diabetes or pre-diabetes?
- Is it type 1 or type 2 diabetes?
- What to do with acute hyperglycemia? (initial measures and prompt referral)
- What to do with chronic hyperglycemia? (measures to initiate treatment change)
Be able to give basic advice about nutrition, exercise and healthy lifestyles.
- Make healthy choices
- Estimate portion size
- Being able to explain the effect of specific food items on glucose control
- Explain the benefits of being physically active and avoiding drugs, tobacco and excessive alcohol use.
- Detect and teach people with diabetes to detect alarm signs during exercise
- Prevent patients from participating in exercises that are not recommended for specific diabetes complications
To learn how to use a glucose meter and how to teach patients to do self-blood glucose monitoring.
- Understanding and interpreting glucose patterns
- How to manage acute hypoglycemia in a conscious patient.
- How to prevent serious hypoglycemia.
Indications for use and how to give patients basic instructions for the safe use of oral medications and incretin mimetics.
- Mechanisms of action, Indications, contraindications
- Indications for use (route, schedule, dose, timing, relation with food intake)
- Expected medication results, side effects
- Precautions, interactions
- Follow up on medication initiation and use (basic principles of dispensation and pharmaceutical follow up)
To understand how to use and administer insulin properly and safely and to provide instructions to patients.
- Subcutaneous, syringe or pen injection: pump or intravenous insulin administration techniques
- How to prevent and detect lipodystrophy
- How to use insulin correction factors
To learn about foot exams and teach patients how to do a foot exam.
- Teaching routine foot self – care
- Detecting a neuropathic foot ulcer
- Detecting an ischemic or mixed foot ulcer
- Detecting a Charcot Foot
- Being able to make adequate referrals for amputation prevention
Our website address is http://diabetes.eepfarmacia.info/course/view.php?id=2 
Dra. Fabiola Prado de Nitsch
Education Program Coordinator
6 avenida 3-22 zona 10
Centro Medico II, office 603
Guatemala, Central America 01010
Tel (502) 2332-9399, 2332-9498