Setting-up nurse-led pilot clinics for the management of non-communicable diseases at primary health care level in resource-limited settings of Africa

  • AP Kengne
  • E Sobngwi
  • L Fezeu
  • P Awah
  • S Dongmo
  • J-C Mbanya
Keywords: chronic diseases, nurse-led clinics, diabetes, hypertension, epilepsy, asthma, primary health care, Cameroon, sub-Saharan Africa

Abstract

Background: This article describes the setting-up process for nurse-led pilot clinics for the management of four chronic diseases: asthma, type 2 diabetes mellitus, epilepsy and hypertension at the primary health care level in urban and rural Cameroon. Methods: The Biyem-Assi urban and the Bafut rural health districts in Cameroon served as settings for this study. International and local guidelines were identified and adapted to the country’s circumstances. Training and follow-up tools were developed and nurses trained by experienced physicians in the management of the four conditions. Basic diagnostic and follow-up materials were provided and relevant essential drugs made available. Results: Forty six nurses attended six training courses. By the second year of activity, three and four clinics were operational in the urban and the rural areas respectively. By then, 925 patients had been registered in the clinics. This represented a 68.5% increase from the first year. While the rural clinics relied mainly on essential drugs for their prescriptions, a prescription pattern combining generic and proprietary drugs was observed in the urban clinics. Conclusion: In the quest for cost-effective health care for NCD in sub-Saharan Africa, rethinking health workforce and service delivery has relevance. Nurse-led clinics, algorithm driven service delivery stands as alternatives to overcome the shortage of trained physicians and other issues relating to access to care.
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eISSN: 1937-8688