Diabetes Schools to join Ministry of Public Health Service Plan

MONDAY, MAY 27, 2024

Under health education programme, nearly 50% of diabetic patients have reached remission

Thailand has seen a continuous increase in the incidence of diabetes. In 2024, there were 250,000 new diabetes cases, bringing the total number of patients to 3.5 million. The average cost of treatment is 28,000 baht per person per year, representing a significant budgetary burden.

The Ninth Health Region, which covers four provinces (Chaiyaphum, Nakhon Ratchasima, Buriram and Surin), has established Diabetes Schools aimed at changing health behaviour and reducing complications from diabetes. 

It has also opened diabetes remission clinics in general, community, and health-promoting hospitals. 

These efforts have been highly successful, with nearly 50% of diabetic patients reaching remission and reducing or stopping medications, saving up to 7.28 million baht per year in drug costs. 

Diabetes Schools to join Ministry of Public Health Service Plan

"Therefore, there are plans to expand the Diabetes Schools into the ministry's Service Plan, incorporating standardised service indicators to ensure all public health units move in the same direction," said Dr Opas Karnkawinpong, permanent secretary of the Public Health Ministry.

Dr Phuwadech Surakhot, inspector general of Ninth Health Region, said the region has established Diabetes Schools in every subdistrict of Nakhon Ratchasima, and one school in every district in Chaiyaphum, Buriram and Surin, totalling 162 schools. 

There are 1,019 trained instructors (levels A and B), and 3,050 students have completed the programme, including 2,592 diabetic patients.

This system employs a new paradigm with five learning bases:

- Self-learning, self-awareness/self-assessment and interpretation
- Daily dietary protocols, calculating carbohydrates and planning daily meals
- Designing personal health changes by such using low-carb diets or intermittent fasting 
- Appropriate health exercises
- Setting personal, suitable goals. Making a commitment to behavioural changes

Results show that 260 patients (10.3%) entered diabetes remission, 719 patients (27.73%) reduced their medication, 217 patients (8.37%) stopped their medication, and 48 patients (1.85%) discontinued some medications.