“Before the conference, the regional branch of the Polish Diabetes Association in Hajnowka celebrated its 15th anniversary. Local officials thanked the Association’s leaders for their work and spoke about their important role in the community, particularly since they are all volunteers who make tremendous effort to help local diabetics. The most active leaders and other people of importance to the Association were rewarded with diplomas, medals and other awards.
Then the Conference took place. It included 7 interesting lectures with PowerPoint presentations on various topics, such as diabetes in general, its complications, diet, new treatment methods, medication reimbursement and disease financing. The first lectures were given by diabetology professors from the nearby medical university in Bialystok. The latter ones included medical representatives and a National Health Fund employee. There were about 200 participants present in the auditorium who were visibly interested in what was being said. During the breaks, the participants took part in a fair that comprised about 10 pharmaceutical companies and ate special sweets for diabetics.
One of the most important ideas discussed during the conference was “Diabetes Schools”, a project the Polish Diabetes Association is hoping to develop in the near future. It started in a small town in one province (Wielkopolska) and now we want to expand it to the whole country. The way it works in that province is: the local branch of the Polish Diabetes Association needs to find a doctor who would be willing to lecture. Then he or she gives a cycle of 8 lectures from October to June slightly less than once a month to diabetics, their families, and all who are interested in the problem of diabetes.
At the beginning of every lecture, the participants take a short test on their knowledge from the previous lecture. Those with the best scores get small prizes, like gadgets sponsored by pharmaceutical companies. The project is conducted in cooperation with local authorities, who often let the group use an auditorium in one of the public buildings for free. We distribute leaflets and posters propagating the event in outpatient clinics, hospitals, pharmacies etc. These materials are sometimes also printed thanks to the local authorities. After every lecture, a summary is given to the local press for the people to review the knowledge (and of course for those who did not attend); it is also put on the official web page of a given community.
Those who participated in the greatest number of lectures may win a prize. We know who attended lectures because at every meeting the participants get letter-shaped stickers, which – when joined together – form a word. The final prizes are awarded by local authorities, and they are quite valuable, e.g. bicycles. There is a permanent committee working with the school, which is composed of well-known diabetologists. This project is extremely popular and successful in the towns where it operates and we are indeed hoping we can spread it to the whole country.
The Conference was a huge success. The Polish Diabetes Association is always extremely happy when it can organize events of this kind for its members and the general public interested in diabetes. This is a very good way of spreading education.”
Andrzej Bauman, President of Polish Diabetes Association invited Patient Safety Foundation to have a presentation there. - It was great honor to be there told us - Bogumiła Dzikowska, clinicians from our foundation. She presented medical problems in Afghanistan during her last charity work in 2010.