Exploration and determination of the process of care of stroke in Zambia
Zambia is undergoing epidemiological changes from communicable diseases to NCDs as a result of demographic transition and hence Stroke is an emerging NCD in the country. The process of care of stroke in Zambia as country is unknown. Exploring the process of care of stroke in Zambia, could help understand the gaps in service delivery thereby helping to create interventions to improve stroke service delivery. The purpose of this study was to determine and explore the process of care of stroke in Zambia. As there is no information regarding stroke care in Zambia, the study aimed to explore and determine the process of care and explore the conditions under which diagnosis and management of stroke is done in Zambia and are the factors influencing stroke diagnosis and management in Zambia. The study was conducted in Zambia’s five general hospitals which were selected conveniently. The study consisted of both quantitative and qualitative methods. The quantitative part consisted of stroke patients’ medical records reviews, who were admitted to general hospitals between 1st January to 3oth October 2014. A sample of 80 medical records was selected randomly from each general hospital, making the total of 400 medical records from all the hospitals. Data was collected using a checklist which was specifically design for the study after literature review and contained stroke care processes including diagnosis, medical management, rehabilitation, lifestyle management and community linkage. Analysis of quantitative data was done using Statistical Package for Social Science (SPSS) version 22. The qualitative part consisted of individual in-depth interviews with a purposefully selected sample of three health workers from each hospital making 15 health workers. The in-depth interviews were based on predetermined themes including staffing levels, multidisciplinary team action, treatment guidelines, clinical capacity, planning and budgeting and technical environment. All the interviews were audio-taped, transcribed verbatim and the predetermined themes were analysed using content analysis. Ethical clearance to conduct the study was obtained from the University of the Western Cape Faculty Board Research and Ethics Committees and Senate Research Committee and ERES Converge in Zambia. Permission to conduct the study in Zambia was obtained from the Ministry of Health, Zambia. Informed consent was obtained from the health workers who took part in the study. The study found that the stroke process of care in Zambia ranged from diagnosis through to physical rehabilitation and lifestyle management. The stroke process of care was challenged in the area of diagnosis using biochemistry, haematology, CT scan, MRI and Angiography etc. The process of care in rehabilitation was challenged by lack of gadgets and space to use in rehabilitation. Community linkage, speech therapy and social welfares services were not part of the stroke process of care in Zambia as the study as established. Staff shortages, busy schedules, no treatment guidelines, poor clinical capacity, lack of resources and poor technical environment impacted negatively on the stroke process of care according to this study. Diagnosis and management of stroke was made with no treatment guidelines, poor clinical capacity and poor technical environment. The same were the factors which were influencing diagnosis and management namely staff shortages, no multidisciplinary teams due to busy schedules of health workers, lack of treatment guidelines, poor clinical capacity by health workers, lack of resources for stroke and poor technical environment. Using the Chi-square association of variables, the study showed that CT scan was associated with definitive diagnosis with the p-value of 0.000. Equally, Chi-Square test showed that Diagnosis was not associated with medical management (p value=0.058).