Can we bridge the gap? Knowledge and practices related to Diabetes Mellitus among general practitioners in a developing country: A cross sectional study
Katulanda P., Constantine GR., Weerakkody MI., Perera YS., Jayawardena MG., Wijegoonawardena P., Matthews DR., Sheriff MH.
Background: Diabetes mellitus is becoming a serious public health problem in Sri Lanka and many other developing countries in the region. It is well known that effective management of diabetes reduces the incidence and progression of many diabetes related complications, thus it is important that General Practitioners (GPs) have sound knowledge and positive attitudes towards all aspects of its management. This study aims to assess knowledge, awareness and practices relating to management of Diabetes Mellitus among Sri Lankan GPs. Methods. A cross-sectional study was conducted among all 246 GPs registered with the Ceylon College of General Practitioners using a pre-validated self-administered questionnaire. Results: 205 responded to the questionnaire(response rate 83.3%). Their mean duration of practice was 28.7 11.2 years. On average, each GP had 27 25 diabetic-patient consultations per-week. 96% managed diabetic patients and 24% invariably sought specialist opinion. 99.2% used blood glucose to diagnose diabetes but correct diagnostic cut-off values were known by only 48.8%. Appropriate use of HbA1c and urine microalbumin was known by 15.2% and 39.2% respectively. 84% used HbA1c to monitor glyceamic control, while 90.4% relied on fasting blood glucose to monitor glyceamic control. Knowledge on target control levels was poor. Nearly 90% correctly selected the oral hypoglyceamic treatment for obese as well as thin type 2 diabetic patients. Knowledge on the management of diabetes in pregnancy was poor. Only 23.2% knew the correct threshold for starting lipid-lowering therapy. The concept of strict glycaemic control in preference to symptom control was appreciated only by 68%. The skills for comprehensive care in subjects with multiple risk factors were unsatisfactory. Conclusions: The study was done among experienced members of the only professional college dedicated to the specialty. However, we found that there is room for improvement in their knowledge and practices related to diabetes. We recommend continuing medical education and training programs to update GP's knowledge in order to improve health outcomes in this group of patients. © 2011 Katulanda et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.