Knowledge, attitudes and perceptions about diabetes mellitus among an urban adult population in Windhoek, Namibia
Kambinda, Dorothy Nasilele
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Background: Namibia is one of the sub-Saharan African countries where diabetes mellitus ranks among the top ten health conditions contributing to the disease burden and among the top 15 in-patient causes of death. An understanding of the population's knowledge, attitudes and perceptions is required to inform health education and interventions targeting diabetes mellitus. Aim: The aim was to assess the level of knowledge, attitudes and perceptions about diabetes mellitus among an adult population living in Windhoek, Namibia. Methodology: A quantitative cross-sectional descriptive survey design was used. Data was collected from 300 adult respondents using a structured questionnaire administered by research assistants. Data was analysed using Epi-Info version 7. Descriptive statistics were used primarily to summarise and describe levels of knowledge, perceptions and attitudes. A scoring framework was developed to categorize responses. Analytical statistics was used to describe association between knowledge, attitudes and perceptions scores and demographic and socio-economic variables. A P-value < 0.05 was regarded as statistically significant. Results: Of the 300 respondents interviewed, 50.3% were males, 49.3% were females and 0.4 were missing. The majority of the respondents were between 26 – 30 years. With regards to employment, majority (62%) were employed full time. About 10.7% of the respondents had post-graduate degree, while 3.3% had no schooling. Knowledge about diabetes mellitus was higher amongst females (51.2%) compared to males (48.2%) and was associated with age. Only 34.7% of respondents had poor perceptions about diabetes (i.e. diet, curability and distribution). About 49.7% respondents had good knowledge about risk factors for diabetes mellitus while 50.3% had poor knowledge thereof. Conclusion: This study reveals that the general knowledge of respondents regarding diabetes mellitus was poor in Windhoek. Despite the respondents having good knowledge there were still misconceptions about diabetes related complications, risk factors and its treatment. In addition, attitudes and perceptions of respondents about diabetes were favourable and thus suggesting some level of understanding about diabetes in the different communities in Windhoek. This study shows that there is knowledge about diabetes, however lack of diabetes knowledge among some respondents suggests a need for a systematic education programme for diabetes. This study highlighted the areas that diabetes education programmes should focus on aspects or issues such as life style and healthy food intake.