Preventing the human time bomb : Geographies of diabetes education in New Zealand (2004)
AuthorsHowes, Pamelashow all
This thesis examines the quality and effectiveness of diabetes education in New Zealand. It is said that a global diabetes epidemic is underway. If diabetes rates increase as predicted it will become one of the world's main public health problems. Diabetes also presents a huge burden, socially and economically to societies. Education is perhaps one of the most modifiable social determinants of health. Education is vital for diabetes, due to the importance of self care, the severity of complications that can result, to create awareness and help prevent an initial diagnosis. There are many ways in which people can receive diabetes education. One educational provider of importance, in New Zealand is Diabetes New Zealand (DNZ). DNZ is a voluntary organisation and has 41 affiliated societies across New Zealand. In order to improve diabetes educational services and help reduce the burden of diabetes in society it is necessary to gain an understanding of diabetes educational provision. Geography, with its fusion of place and people can offer a valuable contribution to the study of diabetes education. There has been a lack of attention given to public health issues by geographers. A health geography approach that incorporates the concept of place is important as it can provide insight into the way in which people experience different educational spaces. By focusing on aspects of the local environment and investigating elements of place, for example, rural and urban environments or health system organisation, another dimension to understandings of health and people's experiences within health care environments can be obtained. This thesis argues that to improve patient education and diabetes outcomes, people's perceptions and experiences within diabetes educational spaces must be investigated and understood. In addition, the extent to which diabetes educational spaces are utilised must also be explored if educational services are to be improved. The diabetes societies in New Zealand have a vital role in the provision of diabetes education for members. However, there are variations among members' perceptions and experiences within this educational space. To improve educational services, the extent to which they are utilised must also be explored. Again, it is necessary to gain an insight into the perceptions of the consumers, in relation to utilisation, to obtain a holistic understanding of diabetes educational services in New Zealand. A geographical approach to exploring the role of the voluntary sector in diabetes educational provision also provides insight into the geographies of voluntary organisations involved in diabetes education.