Integrated Intervention for Diabetes Risk After Gestational Diabetes in South Africa
Women who have had gestational diabetes mellitus, a temporary diabetes that develops during pregnancy, are at a high risk of getting type 2 diabetes sometime after their pregnancy. This research study will address the problem in South Africa, working through an innovative intervention with the country's public health system. Reducing the risk, improving women's health Research has shown that increasing physical activity, eating a healthier diet, and losing weight, can prevent the progression to long-term diabetes. Researchers will develop and evaluate an approach that will help prevent women with previous gestational diabetes from developing type 2 diabetes in the years after pregnancy. They will work with at-risk women from poor communities who use the public health system in the cities of Cape Town and Johannesburg. The proposed intervention involves offering women a special test to see whether they have diabetes six weeks after delivery, along with counselling about healthy lifestyles from a trained counsellor at the clinic and in the community. Currently, no such test, information, or counselling support exists for women after they have had their babies. Easy access, better results The research team will introduce the intervention at primary care clinics, where mothers usually go to have their babies vaccinated during their children's first year. This will make it convenient for them to access the service. It also offers an opportunity to test a post-partum intervention, which addresses maternal and child health and nutrition together, rather than separately, as is currently done. The project team will conduct research before and during implementation with women, healthcare providers, and health service managers to help ensure that the intervention's proposed components are suitable and practical in the real life clinic and community setting. If the intervention proves effective in preventing diabetes, further research and advocacy activities will explore the opportunities and barriers to extending the practice across South Africa's health services.