Compliance with local diabetic guidelines at a district hospital in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Background: Diabetes mellitus (DM) represents a major health-related problem in South Africa and throughout the world. The management goals of diabetes are first to maintain normal blood glucose levels and second to prevent the development of complications. Local guidelines developed by the Society for Endocrine Metabolism and Diabetes South Africa (SEMDSA) have shown that tight glycaemic control and appropriate monitoring can prevent or delay the development of diabetic complications. The demographic profile of patients with type 2 DM and the compliance of doctors to the guidelines were determined.
Methods: Five hundred records of patients with type 2 DM were selected from the medical outpatients’ department (MOPD) by systematic sampling. Demographic information on age, sex and ethnicity was obtained. The performance and timing of recommended investigations were recorded and compared with the 2012 SEMDSA guidelines.
Results: The mean age of patients was 61 years. Black and Indian patients formed the majority, comprising 44.4% and 43.0% respectively. Glycated haemoglobin was measured in 29.2% of patients once and 13.2% of patients twice in the past year. Lipid studies were done on 40.4% of patients. A serum creatinine (sCr), estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) and serum potassium were done on 38.2% of patients. Eye examinations were done on 13.60% patients and examination of the foot was done on 7.8% of patients. Some 15% had a urine dipstick test done at least once in the past year and 10.4% had a urine albumin/creatinine ratio (ACR) requested. Only 21 patients (4.2%) were compliant with the SEMDSA guidelines. Measurements of blood pressure and blood glucose were 100% compliant. Anthropometric measurements (height, weight and body mass index), dietitian referral and foot examinations were the least compliant, being performed 4.2%, 5.0% and 7.8% of the time respectively.
Conclusion: Black and Indian patients formed the majority of the study population. The screening for chronic complications of type 2 DM was poor in the majority of patients. Evaluation of selected records demonstrated compliance with the SEMDSA guidelines in only 4.2% of patients. There is an urgent need to review barriers to the implementation of guidelines in South Africa.
Full text of the research articles are available online at https://doi.org/10.1080/20786190.2018.1507565