Prevalence of chronic diseases in private healthcare sector of South Africa: A threat to public health

  • Lourens Johannes Rothmann
  • Martha Susanna Lubbe
  • Jan Hendrik Philippus Serfontein
  • Jan Jakobus Gerber
  • Madeeha Malik
Keywords: Chronic disease list, Prevalence, Private health sector, Co-morbidity


Purpose: To evaluate the prevalence of patients suffering from registered chronic disease list (CDL) conditions in a section of the South African private health sector from 2008 - 2012.
Methods: This study was a retrospective analysis of the medicine claims database of a nationally (South African) representative Pharmacy Benefit Management (PBM) company data between 2008 and 2012. Statistical analysis was used to analyse the data. Descriptive analysis was performed to calculate the prevalence of CDL conditions for the entire population, and stratified by age and gender. However, MIXED linear modelling was used to determine changes in the average number of CDL conditions per patient, adjusted for age and gender from 2008 - 2012.
Results: An increase of 0.20 in chronic diseases was observed from 2008 - 2012 in patients having any CDL condition, with an average of 1.57 (1.57 - 1.58, 95 % CI) co-morbid CDL conditions in 2008 and 1.77 (1.77 - 1.78, 95 % CI) in 2012. This increase in average number of CDL conditions per patient between 2008 and 2012 was statistically significant (p < 0.05), but with no large practical significance (d < 0.8).
Conclusion: Prevalence of patients with CDL conditions along with risk of  co-morbidity has been increasing with time in the private health sector of South Africa. Risk of increased co-morbidity with age and among different genders was prevalent.

Keywords: Chronic disease list, Prevalence, Private health sector, Co-morbidity


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1596-9827
print ISSN: 1596-5996