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Background: The aim of this study was to understand the perceptions and experiences of health education and self-management practices on Malamulo Adventist Hospital type 2 diabetic patients.
Methods: In this qualitative study, key informant interviews (KIIs; n=4) and focus group discussions (3 FGDs; n=16) were conducted amongst type 2 diabetes patients who had been treated at Malamulo Adventist Hospital in southern Malawi at least once. Key informant interviews and focus group discussions were audio recorded, transcribed verbatim and translated for analysis. Grounded theory methods were used to identify line-by-line emerging codes and were categorized and examined in Atlas.ti. The data was analyzed for emergent themes and supported by critical quotes.
Results: Content analysis revealed participants had a positive regard for the diabetes education classes and had satisfactory health literacy. Participants expressed their ability to integrate diabetes education, such as exercise into their lifestyle. Due to financial constraints subjects experienced trouble maintaining their medication regimen, and had difficulty adopting healthier nutritional alternatives. Although patients expressed efficacy in controlling their blood sugar they subsequently expressed having limited knowledge when dealing with diabetes complications.
Conclusions: Diabetes self-management is comprised of a complex set of processes. Patients with type 2 diabetes at Malamulo Adventist Hospital are deeply impacted by these processes which includes their understanding of the disease process, effects of medication, economic challenges to acquiring health care services and medications, and one’s unique life experience. For all patients with type 2 diabetes to successfully manage their condition, support from their family, the medical community, and health policies must be readily available.