What practical examples can you share - Peer to Peer Support

By Thomas Bauer Moderator | 28 Mar, 2017

A few years ago I lost over 190 pounds..... As part of this journey I belonged to a virtual group of over 1000 people who had had a gastric sleeve procedure. I was surprised when I asked the community about the benefits of losing weight from those who had lost over 100 pounds. The answers surprised me.... They included buying clothes off of the rack, buying tickets for a plane trip without concern of fitting in a seat, ability to buy clothes on sale and being able to cross your legs and keeping up with their kids/grandkids.

The discussion of improvement of medical conditions were infrequent. It was not that they were not appreciated, rather the biggest tangible differences were in day to day living.

I came to realize that every conversation I had with a medical professional about my weight was centered on medical conditions and reduction of risk.... What would have happened if the daily lifestyle impacts were a part of the discussion?
As I began my pre-op period I found that there were actual saboteurs within my inner circle of friends and families.... I could not understand "WHY?" They were afraid of losing me. How would I change as a thinner version? Within my virtual group was normal.... this would be temporary and the concerns would become cheers as I lost weight.

There is growing knowledge that the use of peer to peer support is a promising opportunity to improve quality and safety while reducing costs.
What research has this community conducted on this subject? What practical examples can you share?



Megha Gupta Replied at 7:38 AM, 30 Mar 2017


I am Megha Gupta, Senior Program Officer at Project HOPE India.

We are testing and developing peer support groups in on of our NCD programs in urban and rural settings of Sonipat and Vizag districts of Haryana and Andhra Pradesh States of India respectively.

We initially started developing patient network groups, group size being 6-10 patients, based on the positive deviant approach where we apply tools to screen out champions or positive deviants (PDs) from with in the community who have controlled diabetes and blood pressure. These PDs are called patient advisers. They are the moderators and core of the groups. They are initially trained on all aspects of diabetes and also acquainted to the best practices that they themselves are doing which are leading to good control. Post training, they run their own patient network group conducting monthly meetings of an hour each. Meeting agenda is decided in consensus based on the group requirement and patient goals are set at the end of each meeting which are followed up during the upcoming meetings. These PDs are locally placed and so it is easy for them to keep reminding the group members about the goals to be achieved. Major focus during these meetings is on lifestyle behavior modifications, regular follow up with the doctor and treatment adherence.

Over time, we have learnt that PD approach alone cannot sustain such networks and we will have to test different strategies to scale and sustain these networks as without any financial interests withholding the groups together, it is difficult to sustain in the long run post the life of program. We want to test approaches like linking the groups with community health workers. Would appreciate if we may have suggestions for strengthening, keeping the motivation levels of group members and PDs high for self sustainability.

We shall soon be doing an impact assessment of the Patient network groups.

Thanks & regards,


Thomas Bauer Moderator Replied at 3:21 PM, 30 Mar 2017


Thank you for sharing your research. What were you are able to determine as the driving forces for long team non-sustainability of the group ?


Megha Gupta Replied at 2:36 AM, 31 Mar 2017

No financial benefits
Lack of self motivation towards controlling NCDs
Lack of awareness
Lack of time in urban areas