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Objective: To establish the impact of a face-to-face peer-support intervention on adults with type 2 diabetes in South Africa.
Methods: A cluster randomised controlled trial was conducted involving 288 adults with type 2 diabetes from six communities in the Free State province. Individuals (n = 141) in three communities were randomly allocated to the intervention group, and individuals (n = 147) in another three communities were randomly allocated to the control group. Trained community health workers led monthly group sessions and home visits. The control group received the usual care. The primary outcome of the study was glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c), measured at baseline and endpoint after four months. Secondary outcomes included blood pressure, body mass index and waist circumference, measured at baseline and endpoint. Descriptive statistics were calculated per group.
Results: No significant changes from baseline were found between groups regarding HbA1c (p = 0.87), body mass index (p = 0.21), waist circumference (p = 0.24) and systolic blood pressure (p = 0.13). Compared with the control group, the intervention group had a significant improvement in diastolic blood pressure (p = 0.02).
Conclusions: The face-to-face peer-support intervention delivered by trained community health workers in a semi-urban rural area resulted in a significant improvement in diastolic blood pressure of adults with type 2 diabetes.