South African Family Practice

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Disease patterns in the medical wards of a rural South African hospital

NO Ndjeka, GA Ogunbanjo


A retrospective record review was done to determine disease patterns of patients admitted in the medical wards of St. Rita's Hospital, in rural Limpopo Province of South Africa. Hypertension dominated the disease pattern followed by pulmonary tuberculosis, gastro-enteritis, pneumonia, diabetes, and asthma.

The findings of this study suggest that diseases prominent in the affluent urban population affect patients seen at this rural hospital. The focus of primary care physicians should be to manage chronic illnesses adequately at the clinic level in order to reduce hospital admissions due to these diseases. Improvement in the tuberculosis control programme, living conditions, provision of safe, clean water and proper sewage disposal will help to reduce the incidences of tuberculosis and diarrhoeal diseases in this rural population. Future studies are necessary to monitor the trend of disease patterns in this rural population.

SA Fam Pract 2003;45(4):14-15

Keywords: Disease patterns, medical wards, rural, hospital, South Africa

AJOL African Journals Online