Breaking Barriers to Diabetes Management in Rural Communities: Student Nurses Make a Difference Using Point-of-Care Testing

Aminkeng Z. Leke, Cheryl Portwood, Maboh M. Nkwati


Just as in many parts of the world, rural communities in Cameroon are experiencing a disturbing increase in the prevalence of diabetes. Inadequate or lack of trained personnel, lack of equipment and knowledge deficit about diabetes are among the many factors hindering implementation of control measures. To address this problem, a 14 hour curriculum on the use of point-of-care testing and diabetes management was designed and taught to 14 enrolled nursing students. During their subsequent 12 weeks placement in two rural communities, the students with the involvement of the health center nurses screened for and managed diabetics and high risk cases. A total of 334 clients were screened; overall diabetes prevalence was 4.89%; 11.31% were at high risk; and 35.78% were at risk. The progress reports of the diabetic and high risk clients who were followed-up revealed significant improvements in their health. The health centre nurses gained knowledge and skills in the course of working with the students while the students among many other benefits, improved their leadership skills and accountability awareness. Challenges such as lack of cooperation from lab technicians were overcome.


diabetes management, community, rural, point-of-care testing, nurses, student nurses, Cameroon

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