Why a diabetes chatbot?
During the coronavirus pandemic, people with diabetes are not attending support groups or clinics so much and are not getting information or support with self-care.
Providing the essential information via a WhatsApp Bot might help people with diabetes during the pandemic.
We know that there are more than 100,000 people with diabetes in Cape Town who attend the government clinics.
1 in 4 South Africans over the age of 45 years have diabetes and 1 in 2 have diabetes or pre-diabetes.
More people now die from diabetes than from HIV. Diabetes is the leading cause of death amongst women in South Africa.
People with diabetes who become infected with coronavirus are more likely to get severe disease and be hospitalized.
People with diabetes and coronavirus are more likely to die (odds x3), especially if they are poorly controlled.
Poorly controlled diabetes is associated with an increased risk of all infections… “It's like honey, and bugs love honey". Coronavirus is one such infection.
Unfortunately, a third of people with diabetes are very poorly controlled and three quarters are uncontrolled.
During the 3rd wave of coronavirus therefore we want to try and help people with diabetes avoid infection and also avoid severe disease by being better controlled.
Control of diabetes needs both medication and changes to one's lifestyle and behavior.
What is this chatbot?
The Metro health Services and Stellenbosch University have developed a GREAT4Diabetes WhatsApp chatbot with the help of AVIRO, a medical design agency.
The program is free and uses very little data (90mb data to be exact) and you can stop at any stage. You can also share this number with your relatives and friends.
The number is 087 240 5094
The following topics are covered in the 16 messages:
- Avoiding infection with coronavirus
- Reducing your chance of severe coronavirus infection
- What is diabetes
- Eating healthy food in diabetes
- How much to eat in diabetes – portion sizes
- How much to eat in diabetes –cooking and meals
- How much to eat in diabetes –drinks
- Physical activity – aerobic activity
- Physical activity – moving against resistance
- Understanding your medication
- Dealing with low blood sugar
- Dealing with high blood sugar
- Mental health and stress
- Avoiding complications
- Looking after your feet
- Visiting the clinic
Who is eligible to sign up?
Anyone with type 2 diabetes