Patients' perspectives of care for type 2 diabetes in Bangladesh -a qualitative study

Christopher P Lewis, James N Newell
BMC Public Health 2014, 14: 737

BACKGROUND: Worldwide, type 2 diabetes affects approximately 220 million people and is the cause of 1.1 million deaths each year, 80% of which occur in low and middle income countries (LMICs). Over the next 20 years, prevalence is expected to double worldwide and increase by 150% in LMICs. There is now a move towards improving care for diabetes. However no information on patients' needs, perceptions and experiences is available, hindering effective and appropriate changes in policy and practice. We developed a study with the objective of understanding patients' experiences of treatment for type 2 diabetes.

METHODS: During January 2011, we conducted in-depth interviews in five sites across two administrative districts of Bangladesh, purposefully chosen to represent different geographic regions and local demographics In total, we conducted 23 (14 male, 9 female) individual interviews across the 5 sites, to gain insight into patients' understanding of their diabetes and its management.

RESULTS: Patients' levels of knowledge and understanding about diabetes and its management is depended on where they received their initial diagnosis and care. Away from specialist centres, patients had poor understanding of the essential of diabetes and its management. No appropriate written or verbal information was available for a significant number of patients, compounded limited knowledge and understanding of diabetes by healthcare professionals. Patients felt that with improved provision of appropriate information they would be able to better understand their diabetes and improve their role in its management. Access to appropriate diagnosis and subsequent treatment was restricted by availability and costs of services.

CONCLUSION: Effective, appropriate and essential healthcare services for diabetes in Bangladesh is extremely limited, a majority of patients receive suboptimal care. Site of diagnosis will impact significantly on the quality of information provided and the quality of subsequent treatments. Although appropriate services are available at some specialist centres, the inability of patients to pay for routine tests and check-ups prevents them from receiving timely diagnoses and appropriate continuity of care. The double burden of communicable diseases and diseases is now a well-recognised. Emphasis must be placed on developing appropriate and effective preventive strategies to address this burden.

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