Background: Diabetes mellitus (DM) is a disease that has significant morbidity and mortality worldwide resulting from complications arising from poor control. 1,3
There is no local data to show the level of diabetic patients' knowledge on this disease at KNH, an important aspect in DM management. In the present cross-sectional study, determination of the diabetic patient's knowledge of his/her disease was undertaken for the first time at KNH.
Study Objectives: To determine the proportion of KNH DM outpatients with adequate knowledge on the disease and to determine the level of provision of diabetic education to the DM outpatients.
Study design: This was a descriptive cross-sectional study from September 2007 to January 2008.105 DM patients (above 18 years) who had given informed consent were interviewed to determine the level of their knowledge on OM and hence the proportion of respondents with adequate knowledge. Codes were manually assigned to all questions and the respective answers. Five randomly selected KNH OM OPO healthcare providers were also interviewed to determine the level of KNH preparedness in the provision of diabetic education to the OM outpatients. A sequential sampling procedure was used to interview the diabetic patients. Every Wednesday during the course of the study one different OM healthcare provider was picked and interviewed.
Data Analysis: The data obtained were captured using Epi-data computer software which was then exported to SPSS version 15.0 for analysis. Statistical significance was determined using the Pearson Chi Square at p<0.05, at 95% confidence limit. Results: 105 diabetic patients aged 18 years and above were interviewed; 53(50.5%) were males and 52 (49.5%) females. The age categories 18-30, 31-40,41-50, 51-60, 61-70 and above 70 years accounted forl2 (11.4%), 24 (22.9%), 21 (20.0%),21 (20.0%),22 (21.0°) and 5(4.8%) OM patients respectively. The highest education levels; College/University, Secondary, Primary and Non-formal accounted for 27(25.7%), 42(40.0%), 25(23.8%) and 11(10.5%) DM patients respectively. 52 (49.5%)patients had sufficient knowledge on the diabetes mellitus disease itself, 64(61%) on DM complications, 35 (33.3%) on DM medications, 84 (80%), on the importance of dietary control, 73 (70%) on the importance of doing exercises and 11 (10.5%) on the importance of DM Affiliate Associations.
Patients with highest academic level had the highest proportion of patients with adequate knowledge on the disease (p=O.OOO 1), dietary control (p=O.O 1) and exercise (p=0.03). Patients' age influenced the proportion of patients with adequate knowledge on OM complications (p=0.03). The study also showed that diabetic patients' education was conducted mainly verbally at OPO clinic once a week for two hours and only one healthcare provider conducted the training at each education session though the number of staff was ten. Conclusion: Patients were mainly taught verbally. Two-thirds to three-quarter of the patients had sufficient knowledge on the OM disease, importance of dietary requirements and exercise programs.90% of patients had insufficient knowledge on diabetes organizations and two-thirds on rational use of DM medications. Recommendation: Hospital's training and education on rational use of DM medications should be improved. The hospital should make the healthcare providers and the DM patients aware of the DM' associations for patients' benefit. More research involving larger samples over longer periods should be carried out in order to reflect what happens over a longer period of time.