Managing and monitoring chronic non-communicable diseases in a primary health care clinic, Lilongwe, Malawi
Setting: Patients with chronic non-communicable diseases attending a primary health care centre, Lilongwe, Malawi.
Objective: Using an electronic medical record monitoring system, to describe the quarterly and cumulative disease burden, management and outcomes of patients registered between March 2014 and June 2015.
Design: A cross-sectional study.
Results: Of 1135 patients, with new registrations increasing each quarter, 66% were female, 21% were aged ⩾65 years, 20% were obese, 53% had hypertension alone, 18% had diabetes alone, 12% had asthma, 10% had epilepsy and 7% had both hypertension and diabetes. In every quarter, about 30% of patients did not attend the clinic and 19% were registered as lost to follow-up (not seen for ⩾1 year) in the last quarter. Of those attending, over 90% were prescribed medication, and 80–90% with hypertension and/or diabetes had blood pressure/blood glucose measured. Over 85% of those with epilepsy had no seizures and 60–75% with asthma had no severe attacks. Control of blood pressure (41–51%) and diabetes (15–38%) was poor.
Conclusion: It is feasible to manage patients with non-communicable diseases in a primary health care setting in Malawi, although more attention is needed to improve clinic attendance and the control of hypertension and diabetes.