BMC health services research 2017 12 0417(Suppl 2) 698 doi 10.1186/s12913-017-2645-x
The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is characterized by a high prevalence of hypertension (HTN) and a high proportion of uncontrolled HTN, which is indicative of poor HTN management. Effective management of HTN in the African region is challenging due to limited resources, particularly human resources for health. To address the shortage of health workers, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends task shifting for better disease management and treatment. Although task shifting from doctors to nurses is being implemented in the DRC, there are no studies, to the best of our knowledge, that document the association between task shifting and HTN control. The aim of this study was to investigate the association between task shifting and HTN control in Kinshasa, DRC.
We conducted a cross-sectional study in Kinshasa from December 2015 to January 2016 in five general referral hospitals (GRHs) and nine health centers (HCs). A total of 260 hypertensive patients participated in the study. Sociodemographic, clinical, health care costs and perceived health care quality assessment data were collected using a structured questionnaire. To examine the association between task shifting and HTN control, we assessed differences between GRH and HC patients using bivariate and multivariate analyses.
Almost half the patients were female (53.1%), patients’ mean age was 59.5 ± 11.4 years. Over three-fourths of patients had uncontrolled HTN. There was no significant difference in the proportion of GRH and HC patients with uncontrolled HTN (76.2% vs 77.7%, p = 0.771). Uncontrolled HTN was associated with co-morbidity (OR = 10.3; 95% CI: 3.8-28.3) and the type of antihypertensive drug used (OR = 4.6; 95% CI: 1.3-16.1). The mean healthcare costs in the GRHs were significantly higher than costs in the HCs (US$ 34.2 ± US$3.34 versus US$ 7.7 ± US$ 0.6, respectively).
Uncontrolled HTN was not associated with the type of health facility. This finding suggests that the management of HTN at primary healthcare level might be just as effective as at secondary level. However, the high proportion of patients with uncontrolled HTN underscores the need for HTN management guidelines at all healthcare levels.