Impacts of COVID-19 pandemic on diabetes care among South Asian population

This Health System Impact Fellowship is co-funded by CIHR, Michael Smith Health Research BC, and the BC Centre for Disease Control (health system partner), to help build BC’s health policy research capacity for the integration of policy research into decision-making.


COVID-19 and pandemic response measures implemented to limit its spread have resulted in various indirect health impacts due to the disruption of many preventative, diagnostic, and management services. The extent of their impacts on the diabetes care cascade are not known. South Asians, representing 25 percent of the visible minorities have highest burden of Type 2 diabetes. Higher incidence of COVID-19 was reported in neighborhood areas with higher density of South Asian population in British Columbia (BC) and Ontario. However, it is not known if diabetes care cascade among South Asians was impacted more than other population groups.


We aim to assess: a) The impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the diabetes care cascade, b) Differential impact in South Asians vs other population groups; c) Patient/provider perceptions of disruption of services.


We will use BC COVID-19 Cohort which integrates daily COVID-19 lab tests, case follow-up data, COVID-19 immunizations, hospital and ICU admissions, with demographic, healthcare utilization datasets (medical visits, hospital admissions, emergency room visits, dispensed prescription drugs) Chronic Disease Registry and socioeconomic data and data from BC SPEAK Survey. We will construct care cascade in pre-pandemic years and pandemic/post pandemic years and apply a combination of epidemiological and statistical techniques to investigate the stated aims. We will gather qualitative data based on interviews with diabetes patients and care providers to provide context and inform interventions to prevent further disruptions and optimize care.


This project will characterize the extent of disruption in services across diabetes care cascade and will identify characteristics of population most affected. We will provide evidence on disparities experienced by South Asians and identify strategies to mitigate the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic or future similar health emergencies for individuals with diabetes.


Source: CIHR Funding Decisions Database