Original Research

Detection, referral and control of diabetes and hypertension in the rural Eastern Cape Province of South Africa by community health outreach workers in the rural primary healthcare project: Health in Every Hut

Angela A. Morris-Paxton, Paul Rheeder, Rose-Marie G. Ewing, Dillon Woods
African Journal of Primary Health Care & Family Medicine | Vol 10, No 1 | a1610 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/phcfm.v10i1.1610 | © 2018 Angela A. Morris-Paxton, Paul Rheeder, Rose-Marie G. Ewing, Dillon Woods | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 11 August 2017 | Published: 11 April 2018

About the author(s)

Angela A. Morris-Paxton, Donald Woods Foundation, Mbashe, South Africa; Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, South Africa
Paul Rheeder, Department of Internal Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Pretoria, 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


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Abstract

Background: Non-communicable diseases, mainly cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, cancer and chronic respiratory diseases, are responsible for approximately 63% of all deaths occurring worldwide in any given year. The majority of these deaths have occurred in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). The latest World Health Organization (WHO) report shows that the increase in diabetes is also most pronounced in the LMICs. The South African Labour and Development Research Unit estimated a 9% prevalence within the adult population in 2016. In the Eastern Cape Province, hypertensive heart disease has become the second most common cause of death, followed by diabetes, the third most common cause of death.
Aim and setting: The aim of this study was to report on the follow-up of patients in the community with known hypertension or diabetes or who were deemed at-risk (as identified during a prior community-wide survey).
Methods: Data were collected via a household primary health screening, monitoring and follow-up process, which included taking anthropometric measurements, blood pressure (BP) and blood glucose and referring to clinics for further testing and treatment where necessary.
Results: Of the 1885 participants followed up by the community health outreach workers, 1702 were known to be hypertensive and 183 were deemed at-risk [of these, only 24 (13.2%) had normal or high normal systolic BP readings]. There were 341 participants with diabetes and 34 at-risk of diabetes [of these, 28 (82%) had levels of 11 mmol/l or higher at follow-up]. There was a significant improvement in BP and glucose control over repeated visits.
Conclusion: In this rural area of the Eastern Cape, South Africa, the follow-up of patients with hypertension or diabetes as well as those individuals at-risk adds value to hypertension and glucose control.

Keywords

Non communicable diseases; Community health workers

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