As part of ICN’s overall commitment to the prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases, ICN has partnered with the Dialogue on Diabetes and Depression (DDD) – a global initiative involving several organisations - and the Association for Improvement of Mental Health Programmes (AIMHP) to implement the African Nurse Training Programme (ANTP) to improve awareness, recognition and management of co-morbid diabetes and depression.
Nearly a third of persons with diabetes suffer from clinically relevant depressive disorders and persons with depressive disorders are twice as likely as the rest of the population to also suffer from diabetes. This co-morbidity complicates the management of the two conditions.
Nurses are the frontline professionals who address the key challenges of co-morbid management of patients with diabetes and depression. In the first phase, the ANTP on diabetes targeted six African countries. The ANTP began in October 2011 with ToT activities in Botswana, Lesotho, South Africa, Swaziland and Uganda with Kenya planned for July 2012. It is anticipated the programme will be extended to other countries and regions.
The ToT is facilitated by a faculty composed of ICN, two psychiatrists, a diabetologist, an IDF nurse educator and an experience nurse educator and leader. At the launch of the first phase of the programme, ICN CEO, David Benton said, “It is essential that we recognise the profound link between mental and physical health. The nurse training programme sees people as individuals, placing them at the centre of care with full voice in the decision making process. Nurses are ideally placed to lead the way towards this goal.”
Professor Sartorius, Chairman of the DDD said “The African Nurse Training Programme is the first of its kind in the world. The experience gained its application will be used in launching similar programmes in other African countries, the Middle East and in other parts of the world where the frequency of diabetes and depression are rapidly growing and causing major problems for individuals and societies.”
The programme is composed of 10 modules that unpack the co-morbid relationship between diabetes and depression and focus on assessment, health education, clinical management, and changing the environment of health care provision.
To date the programme has prepared 30 nurses each from Botswana, South Africa and Uganda and 15 nurses each from Lesotho and Swaziland. In Uganda there was an additional training for 28 diabetes nurses with focus on depression aspect of the co-morbidity bringing the total trained nurses to 148 nurses.
A key feature of the ANTP is a “public event” organised on the first day of the ToT that involves the Ministry of Health Officials, the media and presentation by a person living with diabetes. The ANTP has attracted wide media attention including interviews and briefings. There is some evidence that the ANTP is impacting positively on health policy in some countries particularly in the areas of safety and cost-effectiveness of medicines used by nurses to treat depression.
The ANTP modules have undergone a thorough evaluation by participants and faculty and a revised set of training materials are planned for this year.