SAMJ: South African Medical Journal
On-line version ISSN 2078-5135
BRAND, M et al. Chronic diseases are not being managed effectively in either high-risk or low-risk populations in South Africa. SAMJ, S. Afr. med. j. [online]. 2013, vol.103, n.12, pp. 938-941. ISSN 2078-5135.
BACKGROUND: Primary healthcare is the foundation of a country's healthcare system. Without an efficient and cost-effective programme, the level of healthcare offered across all levels of health management is adversely affected. OBJECTIVE: To analyse the effectiveness of the management of hypertension and diabetes mellitus (DM) among two distinct patient populations, one with significant cardiovascular risk factors and the other without. METHOD: We performed a case control study of a high-risk group of patients presenting with chronic critical limb ischaemia (CLI) to the Divisions of Vascular Surgery at Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital and Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital, and a randomly selected group of 'healthy' community participants from Johannesburg's South Western Townships (Soweto). RESULTS: We assessed 217 patients with CLI and 1 030 participants from the community. We assessed the number of patients who were not achieving their therapeuatic targets, among those known to be hypertensive (CLI: 44.7%; community: 59.9%) and diabetic (CLI: 83.5%; community: 66%). Undiagnosed diabetes affected 10.8% of patients with CLI and 11% of the community sample. CONCLUSION: Traditional vascular risk factors are managed poorly at both primary healthcare and at tertiary care levels. There is a need to identify factors that will address this issue.