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Diabetes Qualified

CALD Community Diabetes Education

CALD Community Diabetes Education

Article written by: Katie Allison (CALD Project Officer, DNSW & ACT) , Jessie Elias (Data Processing Officer, DNSW & ACT), & Noureen Chowdhury (Research & Evaluation Manager, DNSW & ACT)

In Australia’s population, culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) groups have a greater prevalence of type 2 diabetes than their Australian-born counterparts1,2. Therefore, programs that help reduce health disparities within CALD communities are essential. One such program is The Community Diabetes Education Program (CDEP). The Community Diabetes Education Program was commissioned by Central and Eastern Sydney PHN (CESPHN) since July 2017 and is delivered by Diabetes NSW & ACT. The program is designed to be patient-centred, through providing knowledge to identify, tackle and breakdown behaviours to help reduce the risk of developing diabetes. It also provides learnings on self-management behaviours after a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes.

The Community Diabetes Education Program (CDEP)

From July 2017 to June 2020, Diabetes NSW & ACT bi-lingual health professionals and multicultural health professionals, with the assistance of NAATI accredited interpreters, delivered 34 face-to-face CDEP sessions. With a total attendance of 509 participants from Chinese, Greek, Vietnamese, Nepali, Bangladeshi and Arabic communities.  

To increase sustainability of the program, ‘closed’ or private workshops were introduced in 2019. This allowed more regular community-led workshops of the program. Which ensured longevity, evolution and effectiveness of the CDEP. Over the years, a number of sustainability strategies and measures were incorporated into the CDEP delivery plan. These include:

  • Participant-centred facilitation
  • Participant access review
  • Language support
  • Evidence-based guidelines and practices
  • Safety procedures
  • Linkages with community support services
  • Budget procedures
  • Subsidy and discounts for program expenditure e.g. discounts on venue hire
  • Community-led program delivery
  • Resource sourcing processes
  • Annual training
  • Regular feedback

The CDEP Program Sustainability Report

The CDEP was delivered across 19 locations within the Central Eastern Sydney Primary Health Network (CESPHN) regions from 2017 to 2020. A program sustainability report in 2020 found more than 300 health practices or services were visited as a result of the program. Based on program evaluation surveys completed between 2018 and 2020, 99 % of participants indicated they would make a healthy change to their lifestyle. Furthermore, 55% would make changes to dietary habits as a result of attending the program. Other findings include, 94% of participants being satisfied with the venue and 57% indicating they would make a change in their levels of physical activity.

The sustainability strategies applied to the program over the years has seen a reduction in cost of care by 40% per participant and an increase in attendance by 55%. The sustainability report also conducted research into effective education strategies for CALD communities. An e-poster for ‘Assessing the acceptability and barriers to digital health education for culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities’ was developed as a result of this research and can be downloaded below.

Recommendations from the CDEP Program Sustainability Report

Recommendations from the program sustainability report are as follows:

  • Continued focus on community engagement, which is seen as a fundamental contributor to program sustainability.
  • A focus on family-friendly strategies for future CDEP initiatives.
  • To further support program sustainability, the following strategies are proposed: peer and community leader involvement, digital adaptations and increasing program engagement with local health services.

The CDEP has been well received by the targeted CALD communities over the past few years. This is attributed to the many strategies incorporated in the design and delivery of the program. Such as cultural awareness and considerations on the learning characteristics of adults. Furthermore a focus on sustainability beyond cost reduction, which also included safety assurance, participant experience and staff engagement. The recommendations from the program sustainability report offer guidance on strategies for use going forward, which will further enhance the programs’ sustainability into the future.

Would you like to develop your diabetes knowledge further?
  1. Australian Government Institute of Family Studies 2008. Enhancing family and relationship service accessibility and delivery to culturally and linguistically diverse families in Australia. Available online at: https://aifs.gov.au/cfca/publications/enhancing-family-and-relationship-service-accessibility-and/ characteristics-and (accessed March 2022).
  2. Abouzeid M, Philpot B, Janus ED, Coates MJ, Dunbar JA. Type 2 diabetes prevalence varies by socioeconomic status within and between migrant groups: analysis and implications for Australia. BMC Public Health. 2013;13(1 (Art # 252)):1 – 9. https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2458-13-252