Tropical medicine and health 2017 05 0545() 11 doi 10.1186/s41182-017-0052-y
Chronic illnesses are a major public health problem in low-income countries. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), few data are available, especially in palliative care. In this context, the present study aimed at describing the patterns of diseases in Kinshasa hospitals as well as risk factors associated with patients’ evolving status and length of hospital stay.
A prospective study was conducted in ten hospitals of Kinshasa, over a 1-year period. A total of 2699 patients with a chronic condition (non-communicable diseases (NCD) and/or AIDS) were consecutively enrolled in the study between January and December, 2013.
Out of 2699 patients studied, 36.9% were suffering from cardiovascular diseases, 29.7% from comorbidity and 17.5% from AIDS. 27.5% of patients died while hospitalized, and 67.4% were lost to follow-up. The risk factors independently associated with death in hospitals were AIDS (adjusted OR = 2.2) and age over 65 years old (adjusted OR = 1.7). Peri-urban and rural areas were significantly associated with a mean adjusted hospital stay longer than 3 days. The length of stay (LOS) was shorter for women and patients living in urban areas. Patients survived for a median of 10 days (range 7-20 days).
This study reveals the high proportion of patients suffering from advanced chronic diseases, including cardiovascular diseases, AIDS and comorbidity. It demonstrates the need for palliative care (PC) in medical practices in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.