Health promotion for non-communicable diseases: Perceptions of physiotherapy and general practitioners in the southern province of Zambia
Kapapa, Musambo Mutinta
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The increasing spread of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), especially in the lowand middle-income countries calls for a more holistic and cost-effective measure to reduce its impact on society. One of the methods advocated for achieving this is health promotion. The Zambian government has called for a shift from curative to preventive management of diseases, including NCDs. Therefore, health professionals are being called upon to redirect their health care management approaches towards preventative care, incorporating health promotion. The study aimed at examining the knowledge, attitudes, practices and perceptions of physiotherapy practitioners and general medical practitioners in Zambia regarding their role in health promotion for NCDs in the hospitals of the Southern Province, Zambia. A sequential explanatory mixed method approach was employed. The quantitative results revealed 98% knowledge of general medical practitioners compared to the 90.6% of the physiotherapists. For attitude, physiotherapists possessed a more positive attitude with 86% while general medical practitioners possessed 80%. Lastly, the study revealed that physiotherapists practise health promotion more than the general medical practitioners, with a 96.2% and 67.7% respectively. The logistic regression showed no significance between the knowledge and attitude scores of the two groups of health practitioners. However, the practice scores revealed that physiotherapists are four times more like to incorporate health promotion compared to the general medical doctors. Both types of health practitioners were of the view that health promotion is the way forward towards the fight against NCDs. However, a number of challenges were echoed that prevent the implementation of a holistic approach management in their practice. Most of the challenges prevalent in these hospitals are policy-based, hence the need for policy makers to intervene for the fight against NCDs.