Diabetes awareness in the Arabic-speaking community

Hello, we are Evaline, Parbati, Bipin, and Grace, nursing students from Laurea University of Applied Sciences. We had a community outreach program to raise awareness of diabetes in the Arabic-speaking community in Finland through Mirsal ry.
Bipin Khanal, Evaline Kahugu, Grace Mongui, Parbati Joshi
Mirsal ry


Diabetes awareness allows people to learn about possible symptoms and ways to reduce their risk for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes, which can both be prevented or delayed. Causes of diabetes may be genetic factors, however, other factors such as obesity, rapid urbanization, and a lack of exercise also play a significant key role (Badran, 2012).


Objectives for the project 

Awareness allows people to learn about possible symptoms and ways to reduce their risk for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes, which can both be prevented or delayed. The project's aim was to help the community have a better understanding of diabetes in monitoring and managing the disease.


Objectives of own learning 

  • To equip the community with knowledge, skills, and confidence to successfully manage and/or prevent diabetes 
  • To establish trust between us and the community members to cultivate openness with information 
  • To connect learned theory with practice 
  • To develop and strengthen peer and team building towards future projects​ 


Community outreach programme 

We were a group of four students and our tasks were equally divided. We began the project planning and implementation process with a Zoom meeting with Mirsal ry's chairperson. We were also in close contact with the project coordinator, and the communication between the parties involved was excellent, in our opinion. As an initial step, we learned more about our targeted group of people, including cultural aspects and the level of knowledge related to the chronic disease diabetes. The project's main objectives were to raise awareness of diabetes in the Arabic community and help the community understand, manage, and control diabetes. We planned a 2-hour outreach program for our target audience to accomplish these objectives. We also provided voluntary blood sugar and blood pressure checks and diabetes education and communication.


Tools and facilities 

We needed a blood pressure cuff, a blood sugar meter, and leaflets about the disease to accomplish our goal. Transportation and food costs, along with the project's location, were facilitated by Moniheli. 



Strategies for building trust between immigrants and health care providers would be demonstrated through practising cultural awareness of the staff. Informational brochures about the health care system in the host country would be essential for migrants. Positive relationships between staff and patients, and continuity of care are components of good practice. More outreach projects like Terkku should be organised to reach out to immigrants and sensitize them. 

  • Some of the challenges faced by immigrants in relation to the prevention of chronic diseases are the language barriers, lack of awareness and cultural differences. For example, immigrants may have a different understanding of a particular illness and its treatment. 
  • Creating awareness and consistently holding discussions on the subject of chronic diseases, is important in the prevention of chronic diseases amongst immigrants 
  • We were able to connect with the community and provide and share information about diabetes that was not very familiar or clear to some of the members. We met our objectives. We gained practical knowledge of how projects are done. For a project to succeed, it requires hard work, passion, and commitment from all the members of the project. 
  • Teamwork requires a lot of patience and tolerance. Commitment and respect for one another are crucial for the project to succeed. Different schedules and poor communication can be a major hindrance. 

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