Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) such as hypertension, asthma, diabetes and epilepsy are placing an increasing burden on clinical services in developing countries and innovative strategies are therefore needed to optimize existing services. This article describes the design and implementation of a nurse-led NCD service based on clinical protocols in a resource-poor area of South Africa. Diagnostic and treatment protocols were designed and introduced at all primary care clinics in the district, using only essential drugs and appropriate technology; the convenience of management for the patient was highlighted. The protocols enabled the nurses to control the clinical condition of 68% of patients with hypertension, 82% of those with non-insulin-dependent diabetes, and 84% of those with asthma. The management of NCDs of 79% of patients who came from areas served by village or mobile clinics was transferred from the district hospital to such clinics. Patient-reported adherence to treatment increased from 79% to 87% (P = 0.03) over the 2 years that the service was operating. The use of simple protocols and treatment strategies that were responsive to the local situation enabled the majority of patients to receive convenient and appropriate management of their NCD at their local primary care facility.
|Number of pages||8|
|Journal||Bulletin of the World Health Organization|
|Publication status||Published - 1998|