Diabetes self-management education (DSME) is the process of providing the person with diabetes with the knowledge and skills to perform self care on a day-to-day basis. It is considered the cornerstone in treating diabetes. In order to perform feasible health educational programs, we, at first, have to know the points of strength and weakness in knowledge, skills and attitudes of diabetics towards their illness. Thus, studying these three items is considered a first essential step in performing health educational programs and  managing diabetes properly.

Aim of the Study: Is the assessment of knowledge, skills and attitudes of diabetics in Upper Egypt Locality and finding the points of strength and weakness in that.

Patients and Methods: This study is a cross sectional descriptive one using questioning method. It included 200 diabetics attending Sohag City hospitals. It lasted 6 months from Januray to June 2006. Data included : patients' demographics, medical history, questions about knowledge, attitudes and skills. Data were collected, analyzed and presented in tables and graphics.

Results: The mean age of studied diabetics was 51.34±12.576 year, 64.5 % of them were females, 73 % lived in rural areas, and 67.5 % of them were illiterate. Concerning knowledge items, the vast  majority of them did not know the following points with variable percentages: types of diabetes mellitus 99.5 %, complications of diabetes 94 %, how to avoid these complications 97.5 %, risk factors for diabetes  98 %, relation between diabetes and obesity 96.5 %, their actual body weight 96 %, ideal body weight 99.5 %, types of oral anti-diabetic drugs 99.5 %, and types of insulin 99.5 %.Only 29 % of the patients knew the symptoms of diabetes, and  only 24.5 % of the patients knew treatment of diabetes. Concerning attitudes, only 23.5 % of the patients thought that foot examination was important for blood sugar control, 10 % agreed that sport has a role in regulation of blood sugar, 19 % thought that insulin has many side-effects and  18 % thought that it is used only in late stages of the disease. On the other hand, 85.5 % agreed that diet control has a role in blood glucose regulation, 53 % agreed that complications of diabetes can be avoided if sticking to diet regimen and drug therapy. Concerning skills of the studied group, 98.9 % of those receiving insulin, stored it in the refrigerator, and 72.2 % of them receive insulin before meals by about 30 minutes, 92.7 % of the patients who knew manifestations of hypoglycemia responded to it correctly by having sugar, and 71.4 % of the patients who knew manifestations of hyperglycemia responded to it correctly by consulting their doctors, 59.6 % did not walk bare-footed, and 64 % of them practiced frequent foot washing. On the other, 0.5 % performed regular self-urine analysis, 1 % performed regular self-blood-glucose testing, 60 % of those on insulin did not give shots by themselves, 70 % of them did not receive insulin injections correctly, 96.5 % of the patients did not dry their feet after washing, 81.5 % wore either unfitting or hard shoes, 98 % of them did not perform regular foot examination, 92 % did not seek medical advice if having foot wound, none of the patients practiced sport and 100 % did not carry diabetes identification card.

Conclusion: The present study revealed that the diabetics in an Upper Egyptian locality have deficient knowledge about their disease. Also, their attitudes were negative towards most of the items related to the disease, and they have deficient  skills in dealing with their diabetes. So, we should stress on these points of shortage when constructing any diabetes educational programs.