The comorbidity of HIV, hypertension and diabetes: a qualitative study exploring the challenges faced by healthcare providers and patients in selected urban and rural health facilities where the ICDM model is implemented in South Africa

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Abstract

Background: PLWH are living longer as a result of advancement and adherence to antiretroviral therapy. As the life expectancy of PLWH increases, they are at increased risk of hypertension and diabetes. HIV chronic co-morbidities pose a serious public health concern as they are linked to increased use and need of health services, decreased overall quality of life and increased mortality. While research shows that integrated care approaches applied within primary care settings can significantly reduce hospital admissions and mortality levels among patients with comorbidities, the primary care system in South Africa continues to be challenged with issues about the delivery of quality care. Methods: This study applied a phenomenological qualitative research design. IDIs were conducted with 24 HCPs and adults living with the comorbidity of HIV and either hypertension or diabetes across two provinces in South Africa. The objective of the research was to understand the challenges faced by HCPs and patients in health facilities where the ICDM model is implemented. The health facilities were purposively sampled. However, the HCPs were recruited through snowballing and the patients through reviewing the facilities’ clinic records for participants who met the study criteria. All participants provided informed consent. The data was collected between March and May 2020. The findings were analysed inductively using thematic content analysis. Results: The challenges experienced included lack of staff capacity, unclear guidelines on the delivery of integrated care for patients with HIV chronic comorbidities, pill burden, non-disclosure, financial burden, poor knowledge of treatments, relocation of patients and access to treatment. Lack of support and integrated chronic programmes including minimal information regarding the management of HIV chronic comorbidities were other concerns. Conclusion: The outcomes of the ICDM model need to be strengthened and scaled up to meet the unique health needs and challenges of people living with HIV and other chronic conditions. Strengthening these outcomes includes providing capacity building and training on the delivery of chronic care treatment under the ICDM model, assisted self-management to improve patient responsibility of chronic disease management and strengthening activities for comorbidity health promotion.

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Godongwana, M., De Wet-Billings, N., & Milovanovic, M. (2021). The comorbidity of HIV, hypertension and diabetes: a qualitative study exploring the challenges faced by healthcare providers and patients in selected urban and rural health facilities where the ICDM model is implemented in South Africa. BMC Health Services Research, 21(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12913-021-06670-3

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