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Cardiovasuclar Disease Essay

1641 words - 7 pages

Access to Care
Despite the insurmountable cardiovascular risk burden, it is important to note that healthcare systems in many parts of Africa are designed to treat acute communicable diseases, rather than preventable NCDs [5] in part due to resources [22]. As a result, equity in terms of access to health care is constrained by the fact that patients with cardiovascular risk burden make significant demands on already scarce health resources.
The healthcare system in SSA is often challenged by lack of sufficient resources to provide adequate patient care. Both lack of institutional resources and up-to-date practical information for healthcare providers often jeopardizes patient care [99]. A ...view middle of the document...

Rural settings pose even a greater challenge, where there are few providers to serve the population and where distance to facilities is greater thereby increasing transportation costs [103]. Watkins et al. (2001) [104] suggest that the management of chronic disorders such as diabetes in rural African communities could be improved by decentralizing care to local village healthcare facilities to improve access to treatment and reduce mortality. This proved to be effective in improving diabetes control in a rural Ethiopian village. Watkins also suggested implementing strategies to track non-attenders in cases where healthcare is centralized to a far away location. Gil et al. (2008) [37] attributed lack of glycemic control among diabetics in rural Ethiopia to geographically scattered populations, shortage of drugs and insulin. Also, a lack of diabetes team care is a major factor behind these serious issues of diabetic control and complications.
Addo et al. (2007) [22] suggest that a significant portion of hypertension-related morbidity and mortality rates may be influenced by "low levels of detection, treatment, and control". In a hospital-based sample in Ghana, approximately 93% of hypertensive patients were non-compliant. Among those patients, 96% were non-compliant because of the cost of anti-hypertensive medication [105]. Thorogood and colleagues [106] found that in rural area of Nigeria, treatment of hypertension is often hindered by lack of medication and BP testing supplies. In many cases, traditional healers are sought due the lack of affordability and access to biomedical care and medications [107,108].
Traditional Healers and CVD risk
The role of traditional healing practices and practitioners in health care delivery in SSA cannot be ignored. For example, in Ghana, traditional healers have been incorporated as providers into their National Healthcare Delivery System [109,110]. Traditional and faith healers are often sought after to care for diabetes [111], hypertension [112] or adverse CVD outcomes such as stroke [113].
As stated earlier, due to cost of biomedical care and medications, traditional and faith healers often offer more accessible and affordable services. Additionally some healers offer a "cure" for diabetes or hypertension, which gives the patient the hope of eliminating any future burden related to his or her condition. For example, a study among traditional healers in the northern province of South Africa indicates that traditional and faith healers prescribe cures for diabetes patients, as opposed to treatment or management, and in fact, believe that diabetes can be reversed or cured [114,115]. It was further reported that many community health workers believe in traditional medicines and home-brewed beer as the best treatment for hypertension and that people who receive medical treatment become sicker and their health deteriorates rapidly. These healing practices are a representation of cultural beliefs, which...

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