Assisting diabetes management through point-of-care HbA1c testing - the QAAMS program for Aboriginal health workers
Shephard, Mark Douglas
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Diabetes has had a devastating impact on the health of Indigenous people throughout the world. In Australia, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people suffer between 12 and 17 times more deaths due to diabetes than non-Indigenous people. In many Aboriginal communities rates of Type 2 diabetes range from 15% to 30%. Diabetes itself is a significant risk factor for heart disease and is the major cause of end-stage renal disease in Aboriginal people. This article describes a national program called QAAMS (or Quality Assurance for Aboriginal Medical Services) that was developed to assist the management of Aboriginal people with diabetes. Aboriginal Health Workers administer the program on a day-to-day basis. The unique feature of the program is that it uses a point-of-care medical instrument (called the DCA 2000) to measure a test for the long-term control of diabetes (called Haemoglobin A1c).