Improving detection and initial management of gestational diabetes through the primary level of care in Morocco: protocol for a cluster randomized controlled trial

Bettina Utz, Bouchra Assarag, Amina Essolbi, Amina Barkat, Nawal El Ansari, Bouchra Fakhir, Alexandre Delamou, Vincent De Brouwere

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BACKGROUND: Morocco is facing a growing prevalence of diabetes and according to latest figures of the World Health Organization, already 12.4% of the population are affected. A similar prevalence has been reported for gestational diabetes (GDM) and although it is not yet high on the national agenda, immediate and long-term complications threaten the health of mothers and future generations. A situational analysis on GDM conducted in 2015 revealed difficulties in access to screening and delays in receiving appropriate care. This implementation study has as objective to evaluate a decentralized GDM detection and management approach through the primary level of care and assess its potential for scaling up.

METHODS: We will conduct a hybrid effectiveness-implementation research using a cluster randomized controlled trial design in two districts of Morocco. Using the health center as unit of randomization we randomly selected 20 health centers with 10 serving as intervention and 10 as control facilities. In the intervention arm, providers will screen pregnant women attending antenatal care for GDM by capillary glucose testing during antenatal care. Women tested positive will receive nutritional counselling and will be followed up through the health center. In the control facilities, screening and initial management of GDM will follow standard practice. Primary outcome will be birthweight with weight gain during pregnancy, average glucose levels and pregnancy outcomes including mode of delivery, presence or absence of obstetric or newborn complications and the prevalence of GDM at health center level as secondary outcomes. Furthermore we will assess the quality of life /care experienced by the women in both arms. Qualitative methods will be applied to evaluate the feasibility of the intervention at primary level and its adoption by the health care providers.

DISCUSSION: In Morocco, gestational diabetes screening and its initial management is fragmented and coupled with difficulties in access and treatment delays. Implementation of a strategy that enables detection, management and follow-up of affected women at primary health care level is expected to positively impact on access to care and medical outcomes.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: The trial has been registered on ; identifier NCT02979756 ; retrospectively registered 22 November 2016.

Original languageEnglish
Article number75
JournalReproductive Health
Issue number1
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Journal Article


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