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Diabetes management in people with low literacy

Jun 16, 2014

Limited health literacy is common in patients with diabetes and has been associated with worse diabetes outcomes. Health literacy is a measure of patient’s ability to read, comprehend, and act on medical instructions. Although knowledge does not necessarily predict outcomes, efforts should be made to focus on improving educational outreach for patients with inadequate health literacy.

Studies show that patients recall as little as 50% of what was conveyed during an outpatient visit. To enhance recall, it is recommended for clinicians to elicit patient’s understanding of new concepts and adapt relevant information particularly for patients with low functional health literacy as this may have important clinical implications.

How do you empower your patients to manage their diabetes particularly those with low functional health literacy?

Information about the moderator

Ms Buyelwa Majikela-Dlangamandla has a nursing background (MSc Nursing) and has for the last 20 years worked as a diabetes educator in the public sector. She is currently a course convenor and a lecturer for the Post Graduate Diploma in Diabetes Nursing at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. Buyelwa is a member of the IDF Consultative Section on Diabetes Education.


1) Kim, S., et al. (2004). Association of health literacy with self-management behaviour in patients with diabetes.
2) Schillinger, D., et al. (2002). Association of health literacy with diabetes outcomes.

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