Original Research

The noncommunicable disease outcomes of primary healthcare screening in two rural subdistricts of the Eastern Cape Province, South Africa

Paul Rheeder, Angela A. Morris-Paxton, Rose-Marie G. Ewing, Dillon Woods
African Journal of Primary Health Care & Family Medicine | Vol 9, No 1 | a1466 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/phcfm.v9i1.1466 | © 2017 Paul Rheeder, Angela A. Morris-Paxton, Rose-Marie G. Ewing, Dillon Woods | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 09 April 2017 | Published: 31 October 2017

About the author(s)

Paul Rheeder, Department of Internal Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Angela A. Morris-Paxton, Donald Woods Foundation, Mbashe, South Africa; Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, South Africa
Rose-Marie G. Ewing, Donald Woods Foundation, Mbashe, South Africa
Dillon Woods, Donald Woods Foundation, Mbashe, South Africa; Donald Woods Foundation, London, United Kingdom


Background: Middle and lower income countries are challenged with a double burden of disease: while still coping with the onslaught of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and increasing levels of tuberculosis (TB), there is a considerable increase in the level of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs). The poor are especially disadvantaged and are at an increased risk for NCDs. Adequate healthcare resources for this environment can only be allocated once the extent and exact nature of the problem is determined.
Aim and setting: The aim of this study was to collect demographic and NCD-related data in the poorest community of the poorest province of South Africa in order to determine the extent of the problem and advise on allocation of resources accordingly.
Methods: Data were collected via a household primary health screening process, which included taking anthropometric measurements, blood pressure and blood glucose and referring to clinics for further testing and treatment where necessary.
Results: It was found that the population screened was generally older, consisted of women, and had a high incidence of obesity and hypertension. Of note was the fact that in those without known hypertension, close to 40% of individuals had possible newly diagnosed hypertension. This increased with increase in age and body mass index (BMI). The total prevalence of diabetes was close to 5%, but possible new diabetes was considerably lower at approximately 1%.
Conclusion: In this rural area of the Eastern Cape, South Africa, undiagnosed hypertension is a major concern and renewed efforts at detection and control are warranted.


primary care; non communicable diseases; diabetes; hypertension; obesity


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