Research

A diabetes profile of the eight districts in the public health sector, Eastern Cape Province, South Africa

N Sahadew, V S Singaram

Abstract


Background. The International Diabetes Federation (IDF) recently reported that there are 1.8 million South Africans with diabetes, and estimates an additional undiagnosed population of 69% of the total number of diabetics. The African continent is expected to see the highest increase in diabetes globally by 2045. Healthcare measures to manage this surge in diabetes and its related complications should be tailored to Africa’s unique challenges; however, the epidemiolocal data essential for policy development are lacking. Bridging the data gap will guide funding distribution and the creation of evidence-based initiatives for diabetes.

Objectives. To investigate the frequency, age proportion and distribution of new patients diagnosed with diabetes in the public healthcare sector of Eastern Cape (EC) Province, South Africa (SA).

Methods. All data collected to date were obtained from the EC District Health Information System. According to the information collected from the Department of Health, diabetes-related data collection fields were implemented in 2013, which resulted in this 4-year study. Additional open-source data on population estimates, mortality and medical aid coverage were provided by Statistics SA.

Results. Of the eight districts in the province, O R Tambo was recorded as having the highest average proportion of new patients diagnosed with diabetes. A positive correlation was found between the calculated incidence of disease and the diabetes mortality rate.

Conclusions. The study showed an annual growth in the incidence of diabetes in the EC since 2014, and highlights the issue of an increasing burden of diabetes in the rural population. This increase is consonant with predictions by authoritative bodies on the growing burden of diabetes in Africa. The pattern of distribution highlights the deprived district of O R Tambo contradicting the well-known link between diabetes and urbanisation.


Authors' affiliations

N Sahadew, Clinical and Professional Practice, School of Clinical Medicine, College of Health Sciences, Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa

V S Singaram, Clinical and Professional Practice, School of Clinical Medicine, College of Health Sciences, Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine, University of KwaZulu- Natal, Durban, South Africa

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Keywords

Diabetes; South Africa; Eastern Cape; District Health Information System; DHIS; Diabetes incidence; Public health

Cite this article

South African Medical Journal 2019;109(12):957-962. DOI:10.7196/SAMJ.2019.v109i12.13972

Article History

Date submitted: 2019-11-27
Date published: 2019-11-27

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