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A diabetic hypertension treatment program for the underserved in rural Dominican Republic

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DOI: 10.4236/ojim.2012.22015    4,337 Downloads   7,762 Views   Citations

ABSTRACT

Background: Worldwide, diabetes and hypertension are leading causes of preventable end-organ disease. The prevalence of these diseases in the Dominican Republic is high and the end stage complications common. A treatment program utilizing modern protocols often thought too complex for the rural poor was initiated. Methods: With local government permission, a pilot study utilized Dominican physicians and local healthcare advocates (cooperadores) to obtain medical histories and physical exams as well as to determine healthcare needs specifically for type 2 diabetes and hypertension. A glycosylated hemoglobin (A1c) was used to identify and stratify diabetes patients. Blood pressure parameters per established standards were used to identify patients with hypertension. As indicated, pharmacotherapy was initiated (see treatment protocols), multiple forms of education and awareness building utilized, and a protocol-driven follow-up program maintained under weekly review. Results: In fifteen months, 1405 patients were screened, 229 type 2 diabetes patients, 59 pre-diabetes patients, and 98 hypertension patients were identified and enrolled for education, treatment, and follow-up. Normalization of blood pressure in hypertensives at 6 month follow-up was 78% and reduction of A1c values to <7.0 was 79.8%. Conclusion: Utilizing a best practice approach per internationally agreed-upon parameters has been shown here to be not only relevant but capable of improving outcomes in a developing world setting. A model incorporating standard of care, education, and integration of local resources as established suggests that further study is warranted to evaluate the long-term benefits as well as secondary outcomes of this approach to local populations.

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Cruz, M. , Filipi, L. , Estevez, J. , Marte, E. , Dethlefs, H. , Dowd, R. , Legner, A. , Kottoor, V. and Filipi, C. (2012) A diabetic hypertension treatment program for the underserved in rural Dominican Republic. Open Journal of Internal Medicine, 2, 72-79. doi: 10.4236/ojim.2012.22015.

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