Treatment patterns of dermatological disorders in the private health care sector of Namibia
Many patients suffer from dermatological diseases throughout the world. Literature about this problem is emphasizing that it is getting worse. Factors such as poor hygiene, poverty and diseases such as HIV/AIDS, have increased the prevalence of dermatological diseases in developing countries such as Namibia. Understanding the different dermatological diseases and studying their prevalence will aid in ensuring patients better quality of life. The aim of the study was to investigate the prevalence and medicinal treatment patterns of dermatological diseases in the private healthcare sector of Namibia, with special reference to Windhoek. The research methodology was divided into two sections, namely a literature analysis and an empirical study. The literature analysis has been done to ensure knowledge about dermatological conditions before the empirical study was started. The empirical study was divided into two phases and data were collected from the community pharmacy environment (Phase 1) and a dermatologist (Phase 2). A total number of 507 patients participated in this study. In the community pharmacy environment, data were gathered from dermatological prescriptions of general practitioners (Phase 1A) and from pharmacist-initiated therapy prescriptions (Phase 1B). The data collected from the dermatologist (Phase 2), were collected from patients files at the dermatologist‘s practise. Phase 1A indicated that urticaria (n=36) had the highest prevalence followed by eczema (n=28) and contact dermatitis (n=28). 49% of the patients that participated in this phase were seeking treatment for the same condition the second time. In Phase 1B, contact dermatitis (n=15) showed the highest prevalence with eczema (n=14) and urticaria (n=8) second and third respectively. 77% of the patients participating in this phase of the research study did not have a family history of the same dermatological diseases. Phase 2 indicated that the highest prevalence of dermatological diseases was acne vulgaris (n=30) and melasma (n=19). The treatment duration that occurred most often in this phase was 180 days. Over all, the data indicated that eczema was the dermatological disease with the highest incidence of 11.2% (n=57). Other diseases that played a significant part were acne vulgaris (10.5%), urticaria (9.0%), contact dermatitis (8.6%) and melasma (7.1%). Rare dermatological diseases such as Kaposi sarcoma showed relatively high prevalence (n=9). It was concluded that this could be due to the fact that the dermatologist consulted, had been the only dermatologist claiming directly from the government medical aid, and that most of the patients diagnosed with Kaposi sarcoma during this research study were government employees. Many dermatological diseases were not specifically defined or diagnosed, but still treated with topical corticosteroids which may suggest that the term eczema is undefined and easily used by different healthcare practitioners for dry-skin related conditions. It is concluded in this research study that the three most prevalent dermatological diseases in the private healthcare sector of Namibia are eczema, acne vulgaris and urticaria. These conditions are not considered to be life-threatening, but they do have a significant effect on the quality of life of patients.
- Health Sciences