New project: University of Copenhagen addresses diabetes amongst pregnant women in Vietnam

Photo: Tine Gammeltoft

A new Danida-supported collaborative health anthropological project, involving the Department of Anthropology at the University of Copenhagen, addresses diabetes among pregnant women in Vietnam.

According to the University of Copenhagen, the project is one of four new Danida-supported projects involving researchers from the Department of Anthropology and the project will identify solutions adapted to local everyday lives.

The University of Copenhagen explains that diabetes is not just a challenge in affluent countries. Many low- and middle-income countries are struggling with rising rates of diabetes, which can reach epidemic proportions.

The new research project anchored at the Department of Anthropology is set to step up efforts against a particular type of diabetes; gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM). GDM is a growing problem across the world and especially in Southeast Asia.

With a grant of DKK 5 million from the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the project ‘Gestational Diabetes in Vietnam’ will, in close collaboration with local researchers and health care workers, investigate GDM in Vietnam’s northern Thai Binh province. GDM is estimated to affect about one in five pregnant women in Vietnam, but little is known about how it is handled by pregnant women, families, and health care providers.

Gestational diabetes increases the risk of complications during pregnancy and childbirth while also increasing the risk of mother and child developing diabetes later in life. Gestational diabetes is thus an important driver of the global diabetes epidemic.

The new project will, among other activities, develop and evaluate a ‘healthy pregnancy intervention’ targeted at women with gestational diabetes and their family members.

“Many efforts in the field of health underestimate the importance of our intimate social relationships,” says Professor Tine Gammeltoft from the Department of Anthropology, who is leading the project.

“We underestimate the extent to which we as humans live in deep dependency on one another. This is especially true in low- and middle-income countries where people’s health care practices are, to large extents, shaped by family and kinship relationships. To ensure healthy pregnancies, it is important to take family dynamics into account.”

Read more about the project here

About Gregers Møller

Editor-in-Chief • ScandAsia Publishing Co., Ltd. • Bangkok, Thailand

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