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Fam Pract. 2010 Jun;27 Suppl 1:i53-61. doi: 10.1093/fampra/cmp012. Epub 2009 Mar 2.

The New Zealand experience in peer support interventions among people with diabetes.

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  • 1Institute of Metabolic Science, Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, UK. <>



Peer-to-peer support has the potential to assist people with diabetes, or at risk of diabetes.


To review the development of diabetes peer support initiatives in New Zealand.


A systematic review of diabetes peer support publications from New Zealand, supplemented by unpublished records from Diabetes New Zealand (DNZ, the national diabetes patient organization) and the two major regional initiatives in South Auckland and Waikato.


DNZ, which has 40 societies and 71 diabetes support groups, delivers a range of services to members and non-members. The membership is mainly older European New Zealanders with diabetes, with some Maori and associated societies for Pacific and Youth. While demand exists, no quantitative evaluation of health impact by these organizations has been undertaken. Other peer support groups have developed in South Auckland and Northland. Common themes that emerge relate to leadership, organization and balancing the different needs of people with diabetes at different stages (e.g. newly diagnosed versus others) and with different personal needs. In South Auckland and the Waikato, lay educators have been trained to provide 1:1 and group sessions for people with, or at high risk of, diabetes. A range of training, management, funding and organizational barriers existed in the implementation of these lay educator programmes. Conclusions. Peer-to-peer support and education programmes in diabetes have been considered useful in New Zealand. Knowledge regarding training, management and organization is nearing a level, which would allow formal evaluation of a strategy for both the prevention of diabetes and in supporting people with diabetes.

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