Diversity & Equality in Health and Care Open Access

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Beliefs and practices of diabetic patients in Vhembe district of Limpopo Province

Hilda Shilubane

Diabetes mellitus (DM) is a chronic health condition affecting over 18 million people worldwide and has been found to disproportionably affect members of the communities.  It is a progressive disease that can lead to debilitating complications and premature death if not effectively controlled. South Africa like any Sub-Saharan countries and the world at large is no exception, the prevalence of diabetes among South African adults from 30 years and above has increased by 50% between 2009 to date and an increase is expected by some 11 million new diabetes diagnoses by the year 2020.  Diabetes is an increased health problem in South Africa with few resources available for diabetes care and yet is a lifelong disease. The purpose of this study was to describe the beliefs and management practices of patients with diabetes mellitus in Vhembe district, Limpopo province. The study was conducted at Vhembe district clinics. A probability, purposive sampling was used to sample 100 diabetic patients. Data was collected over a 5 months’ period, using a pre-tested structured questionnaire. Data were analysed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 19.0. Descriptive statistics, frequencies and percentages were used to summarize the data from the study. Results of this study revealed that the majority of the respondents had poor management practice of feet care and annual eye examination. A substantial number of the respondents believed that diabetes mellitus can be cured. Majority did not believe that diet helps in the management of diabetes mellitus.

The majority of diabetic patients still hold beliefs about diabetes mellitus (DM) such as, DM is curable.  This could have a negative effect where patients can quit taking treatment once the disease is under control. This happens irrespective of the National guidelines for the management of DM. Therefore, some strategies should be sought that could enhance the implementation of the guidelines thereby reducing the complications of the disease





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