Larry Distiller: COVID-19 is shaking up diabetes education

For the first time in 22 years and because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the annual forum of the Centre for Diabetes and Endocrinology (South Africa) will be online. To bring knowledge and discussions to hundreds of healthcare professionals from across Africa, the CDE is adopting a new format, adapted to COVID-19 restrictions. Dr Larry Distiller, the founder of the centre, talks about the challenges and opportunities brought about by the pandemic, and reviews the programme of the event with us.

Telemedicine in Nigeria: a simple solution for people with diabetes?

Despite the multiplication of telemedicine applications and services and the appetite of investors for a potentially huge market, telehealth and remote consultations in Nigeria are in their infancy: a lot remains to be done to structure, popularise and effectively practice telemedicine.

COVID-19 has acted as an accelerator and many hospitals are in the process of setting up dedicated telemedicine units. But physicians and specialists did not wait. Since the beginning of the pandemic, many have taken on themselves to reach out to patients by phone, messages and -more rarely- video calls, often providing a lifeline to those affected by chronic diseases. However, healthcare professionals are keen to emphasize that not everything can be done remotely, and patients can miss important signs of complications.

During an event organised by Diabetes Africa, participants discussed telemedicine in Nigeria, its potential and its limitations when caring for people with diabetes. There is a case to better document and develop guidance for healthcare professionals, not all of whom are experts in diabetes. Or in telemedicine.