Nigerian physicians' knowledge, attitude and practices regarding diabetes mellitus in the paediatric age group
Background: Despite the increasing prevalence of diabetes in the paediatric age group, information concerning Nigerian physicians' knowledge, attitude and practices with regard to diabetes care in children and adolescents is scarce.
Objective: To assess the knowledge, attitude and practices of physicians working in Nigeria.
Methods: The study examined several aspects of diabetes-related knowledge, attitude and practices of Nigerian physicians. A crosssectional survey was conducted among physicians in four towns in four different States in Nigeria, using a self-administered questionnaire to obtain data. Statistical analysis was performed using SPSS version 16.
Results: A total of 288 medical practitioners from four towns in four different states in Nigeria filled the questionnaires. The distribution of participants was as follows: 25, 28, 85 and 150 from Benin (Edo State), Kano (Kano State), Ado-Ekiti (Ekiti State) and Gwagwalada (Federal Capital Territory), respectively. Questions answered correctly by more than half of the participants were: fasting plasma glucose diagnostic criterion for diabetes, 161(55.9%); best test for monitoring glycaemic control (72.9%); diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is an immediate complication (93.5%); insulin therapy is important in the control of childhood diabetes (86.5%); and diabetes is a dangerous disease (91.3%). Questions answered correctly by less than half of the participants were: the stronger hereditary nature of type 2 diabetes (39.6%) 10.1% and 2.8% knew that diabetes can present with fast breathing and abdominal pain respectively. Only 36.8% of the participants knew that children with diabetes should eat family diet. Concerning risk factors for diabetes, majority (82.6%) of the participant believe that eating too much sugar is a risk factor. Only 25.3% knew the correct method of storing insulin and 39.6% of participants stated that they do not know. This paucity of knowledge was more pronounced among physicians with less than ten years of medical practice experience after graduation from the medical school. Only a quarter (24.7%) of the respondents will allow an adolescent with diabetes to adjust his insulin dose.
Conclusions: Knowledge gaps, ambivalent attitudes and suboptimal practices regarding diabetes mellitus in childhood and adolescence were found among Nigerian physicians, irrespective of duration of practice post-graduation from the medical school. Our results suggest that most physicians require additional education, focusing on DM in order to provide an acceptable level of care to children and adolescents with diabetes mellitus.
Keywords: Knowledge, Attitude, Practices, Diabetes Mellitus, Children, Physicians, Nigeria