The National Healthcare Group (NHG) is working together with Tanoto Foundation (Tanoto) to combat diabetes amongst the populace through a “Diabetes Reversal Programme.” This programme aims to control blood sugar levels in diabetes patients through behavioural changes, without the need for medication or surgery.
Contributions from both the NHG and Tanoto Funds, at S$1 million (approx. U$D0.73 million) and S$2.6 million (approx. U$D1.88 million), respectively, are also expected to boost diabetes research in primary care and in the community.
In Singapore, obese individuals with early diabetes are commonly prescribed glucose-lowering medications, or recommended to undergo bariatric surgery, to regain control over their increasing blood sugar levels.
However, diabetes control and reversal can be achieved and maintained more thoroughly through positive health behaviours instead of medication and surgery, as suggested by the researchers from NHG – they seek to study the barriers and facilitators related to such behaviour.
The researchers will also conduct a clinical trial for an intensive weight management regime in reversing early diabetes in obese patients. The trial will entail a close partnership between diabetic patients, doctors, and dietitians, to create custom, low-calorie meal plans.
Senior Minister of State for Health, Dr. Janil Puthucheary graced the official launch of the much-anticipated Diabetes Reversal Programme at Kallang Polyclinic recently, in addition to a host of senior representatives from NHG and Tanato and primary care physicians.
Associate Professor Chong Phui-Nah, CEO of National Healthcare Group Polyclinics (NHGP) and Primary Care, said health education, patient engagement, and empowerment of diabetes patients are of “paramount importance” to successful modification of self-care behaviours and lifestyle, and to manage diet and level of physical activity.
“Our aim is to better understand the challenges that patients face in their social environment and how we can better support them to take greater ownership of their health outcomes through research. The Diabetes Reversal Programme is one such study that proposes a new model of care to help patients reverse diabetes and manage their condition well,” said Assoc. Prof. Chong.
Professor Benjamin Seet, Deputy Group CEO (Education and Research) of NHG, added, “At NHG, we do things differently by putting the patient first, and focusing on real world research that directly leads to better health outcomes and quality of life. A good example would be the programme we are launching today – this partnership, where a philanthropic organisation like the Tanoto works closely with primary care doctors, dieticians, and patients, right within the community, can only bring about impactful change.”
Meanwhile, Bey Soo Khiang, Executive Advisor at Tanoto, disclosed that the collaborative programme between NHG and Tanoto will be conducted in the local primary care setting, to better study and address how the Singaporean diet, environment, and culture can affect health and disease patterns.