The profile of non-communicable disease in patients admitted into the children\'s medical ward of the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital

  • BE Otaigbe
  • RO Ugwu
  • OM Dabibi
  • RN Obiorah


Background: The prevalence of non-communicable diseases (NCD) is increasing in recent years in low income countries in sub-Saharan Africa because of changing disease patterns following socioeconomic development. Nevertheless, communicable diseases (CD) still remain the predominant health problem. At present, non-communicable diseases are not a high priority in sub-Saharan Africa but the probability of death from a NCD is higher in sub-Saharan Africa than in the developed world. It is therefore important to know the existing disease burden due to NCD with a view to alerting policy makers and health workers of the trend of disease in our environment. Objectives: To determine the pattern of admission of paediatric patients seen at the children\'s ward of the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital (UPTH) and ascertain the pattern of non-communicable diseases. Methods: The study was retrospective and involved analysis of data from the admission records of the children\'s wards of the UPTH from February 2004-November 2005. Patients with non-communicable diseases were analysed for this study. Results: A total of two thousand four hundred and fourteen (2414) children were admitted during the period of study. Out of these, 479 (19.8%) had non-communicable diseases consisting of 279 (58.2%) males and 200 (41.8 %) females with a male: female ratio of 1.4:1. The top five non-communicable diseases were sickle cell disease (SCD) (17.1%), malignancies (14.8%), renal diseases (12.9%), tetanus (10.2%) and malnutrition (10.0%). Conclusion: This study suggests a concomitant rise in NCD with four of them being among the top 10 disease burden when combined with communicable diseases. This poses a risk of a \'double burden\' of disease which we cannot afford in our country which is fraught with poor government policies, poverty and poor funding of the health sector. Effective strategies are needed to control the risk factors for NCD.

Keywords: Childhood, Non-communicable disease, Double burden, Port Harcourt

Port Harcourt Medical Journal Vol. 2 (3) 2008: pp. 204-210

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eISSN: 0795-3038