South African Family Practice

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A snapshot of noncommunicable disease profiles and their prescription costs at ten primary healthcare facilities in the in the western half of the Cape Town Metropole

AA Isaacs, N Manga, N Manga, C Le Grange, C Le Grange, DA Hellenberg, DA Hellenberg, V Titus, V Titus, R Sayed, R Sayed


Objectives: There has been a rapid increase in the prevalence of  noncommunicable diseases globally. It is thought that this increase will have the greatest impact on developing countries, such as South Africa, where it will adversely affect quality of life and increase healthcare costs. This research was conducted to determine the disease profile and cost of treating patients at 10 facilities in the western half of the Cape Town Metropole.
Design: An analytical, cross-sectional study was carried out in order to interpret the cost of the medication in relation to the patient disease profile.
Setting and subjects: Data were collected from 10 facilities in the western half of the Cape Town Metropole over a threemonth period.
Outcome measure: The outcome measure was the disease profile of  patients attending the facilities and the cost of prescriptions for these patients.
Results: Most patient visits to the community health centres were to treat chronic diseases (82%). The disease profile of patients was as follows: 58.96% had hypertension, 19.67% diabetes, 12.14% asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and 21.80% arthritis. It was found that 65% of patients with a chronic condition had co-morbidities. The cost of
prescriptions was significantly higher (p-value < 0.001) for chronic  conditions than for acute conditions. The number of comorbidities per patient also influenced the cost of the prescriptions.
Conclusion: The results indicated that most of the adults attending public sector facilities in the western half of the Cape Town Metropole have  chronic diseases and that the cost of treating these conditions is  significantly greater than that of treating acute conditions. An integrated approach to the management of chronic diseases is important in  low-resource settings for the efficient utilisation of limited resources.
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