Medicine (St Vincent's) - Theses

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    Context for improving access to care for children and youth with diabetes in less-resourced countries
    Ogle, Graham David ( 2020)
    There are major deficits in knowledge related to the epidemiology and care of the various types of diabetes in young people in less-resourced countries. Multiple barriers exist at individual, community, health system, national, and international levels that must be overcome to lessen the gap in outcomes between advantaged and disadvantaged regions. This thesis presents 11 published papers by the candidate addressing this gap in knowledge. Type 1 diabetes (T1D) incidence data is presented for three countries with no previous data (Fiji, Bolivia and Azerbaijan), showing differing rates in each country, and in Fiji differing rates in the two main ethnic populations. Novel information on the types of diabetes is presented for Azerbaijan (along with the incidence data aforementioned), Pakistan and Bangladesh. Results in Azerbaijan were similar to those seen in European populations. In Pakistan and Bangladesh, it is common to see atypical forms that clinically present like T1D cases but do not have low C-peptide values or diabetes autoantibodies. Five papers examine costs and access to care. In a survey of 71 countries, availability of nearly all key components of care was greatly reduced in lower-income countries. A study of costs to families in 15 countries demonstrated that the cost of core supplies is prohibitively expensive for many families. A comprehensive review of issues surrounding access to supplies for self-monitoring of blood glucose presents new information on the global market and makes numerous practical recommendations. Progress towards Universal Health Coverage for provision of insulin and blood glucose test strips was evaluated in 44 countries, showing that there was greater progress for insulin than for test strips. A novel framework for describing T1D care levels (Basic, Intermediate and Comprehensive) provides a way of identifying the steps required to improve care in a particular situation, and the data presented from Bolivia shows that Intermediate Care can achieve outcomes similar to those in some highly-resourced countries. The final paper, using robust, novel and replicable methodology, demonstrates the efficacy of traditional evaporative cooling devices used for insulin storage where refrigerators are not available. In conclusion, efforts to improve care for young people with diabetes in less-resourced countries must take into account wide differences in incidence and the types of diabetes that occur between countries. Furthermore, for care to improve, many components of care need to be addressed. The concept of ‘Intermediate Care’ provides an achievable level of care that can result in reasonable outcomes even in poorly resourced health systems.