Eighteen Vincentians trained in  Taiwan under the Diabetes  Capacity Building Project
Project staff involved with the Prevention and Control of Diabetes Capacity Building Project, and Senior Dietician at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital Nicole France(fourth from right) pose together
October 4, 2019
Eighteen Vincentians trained in Taiwan under the Diabetes Capacity Building Project

The Prevention and Control of Diabetes Capacity Building Project, born through the partnership between Taiwan and St Vincent and the Grenadines, has already trained 18 Vincentians in Taiwan.

Doctor Yung-Wei Hsu, a Director at the MacKay Memorial Hospital in Taiwan indicated that the three-year project is meant to introduce a team based care model for the treatment of Diabetes to St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG). By this model, doctors, nurses, and dieticians work together to treat the patient.

The project began in February 2018, and will run to January 2020, with a total value of US$2,031,096 being allocated. Much of these funds will come from the Government of Taiwan. A portion of funds is also provided by the MacKay Memorial Hospital, the Taiwan International Cooperation and Development Fund, and the Government of SVG.

Yung-Wei Hsu explained that there are three very important parts to the care of Diabetes, which include the medication aspect, the exercise aspect and diet control.

The capacity building project trains health care professionals by hosting them in Taiwan at the Mackay Memorial Hospital for one to two months for training. When this is complete, they return to St Vincent and the Grenadines, but their local mentors from Taiwan visit to monitor how well they implement the knowledge and techniques.

The doctor also explained that there is some community outreach involved in the program. And he noted, “According to our schedule we will purchase one mobile unit, it’s like a mobile coffee shop, in some countries a mobile coffee car, they can drive to each village. So our mobile health promotion unit will drive to different districts to the communities to do the outreach program.”

So far, there have been three batches of health care professionals that have visited Taiwan for this training. Included within the cohort of trainees was the Senior Dietician at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital (MCMH), Nicole France.

France trained for a month beginning at the end of May, and ended in July, 2019.

“We learnt a lot, … to help us manage our diabetic patients a lot better. We gained a lot of knowledge from them,” she told SEARCHLIGHT.

“They introduced me to what they do as dieticians in Taiwan. We learned their system. They have an integrated system which we hope to introduce in St Vincent,” France explained.

France also runs the kitchen at the MCMH, and she was also introduced to the kitchen at their hospital and shown how it operates, including special diets for particular patients and how the patients were interviewed.

“We were taught how to do posters. Not everyone can read. Not everyone likes to read so they taught us that by doing visual posters, you can just get a message by looking at something, you get the full message,” she stated.

On the topic of implementation of the training, France admitted that it was difficult because “we don’t have the same resources that they have, we don’t have access to some of the resources, but we try.”

She noted, “We’re trying to make handouts reader friendly or easier on the eye of those who are not so literate,” explaining that she has acquired assistance from a cartoonist to make flyers.

However, she commented generally, “I think I can manage the diabetic patients much better now because of what I learned.”