Sub-Saharan Africa is currently enduring the heaviest global burden of diabetes and diabetes care in such resource poor countries is far below standards. This study aims to describe the gaps in the care of Ethiopian diabetic patients at Jimma University Specialized Hospital.
329 diabetic patients were selected as participants in the study, aged 15 years or greater, who have been active in follow-up for their diabetes for more than 1 year at the hospital. They were interviewed for their demographic characters and relevant clinical profiles. Their charts were simultaneously reviewed for characters related to diabetes and related morbidities. Descriptive statistics was used for most variables and Chi-square test, where necessary, was used to test the association among various variables. P-value of < 0.05 was used as statistical significance.
Blood glucose determination was done for 98.5% of patients at each of the last three visits, but none ever had glycosylated haemoglobin results. The mean fasting blood sugar (FBS) level was 171.7 ± 63.6 mg/dl and 73.1% of patients had mean FBS levels above 130 mg/dl. Over 44% of patients have already been diagnosed to be hypertensive and 64.1% had mean systolic BP of > 130 and/or diastolic > 80 mmHg over the last three visits. Diabetes eye and neurologic evaluations were ever done for 42.9% and 9.4% of patients respectively. About 66% had urine test for albumin, but only 28.2% had renal function testing over the last 5 years. The rates for lipid test, electrocardiography, echocardiography, or ultrasound of the kidneys during the same time were < 5% for each. Diabetic neuropathy (25.0%) and retinopathy (23.1%) were the most common chronic complications documented among those evaluated for complications.
The overall aspects of diabetes care at the hospital were far below any recommended standards. Hence, urgent action to improve care for patients with diabetes is mandatory. Future studies examining patterns and prevalence of chronic complications using appropriate parameters is strongly recommended to see the true burden of diabetes.