Challenges experienced by patients with hypertension in Ghana: A qualitative inquiry

Fidelis Atibila, Gill Ten Hoor, Emmanuel Timmy Donkoh, Gerjo Kok

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Hypertension (HPT) is an essential public health problem affecting both lower and middle-income countries disproportionately. Evidence suggests that HPT is the leading risk factor for cardiovascular diseases and chronic kidney disease. Yet, challenges faced by patients with HPT in Ghana are not sufficiently explored. This study, documents the challenges patients with HPT face in Ghana.

METHODS: We used an explorative descriptive qualitative design. Face-to-face in-depth interviews were conducted with 15 patients with HPT. Interviews were recorded and transcribed verbatim. A thematic content analysis procedure was followed to analyse the data.

RESULTS: Four main themes emerged from interviews; three of which pertained to dimensions of challenges and a fourth which pertained to coping strategies. These include: [1] impairment in physical activities and mobility constraints [2]. Psychological challenges such as suicidal ideations, sadness, fear, anxiety, and reduced sexual affection [3]. Socio-economic challenges identified include loss of friends and social network, difficulty in job demands, and financial burden, and [4] coping strategies such as health system support, social support, and religiosity were identified.

CONCLUSION: Patients with HPT experience an array of challenges. We suggest that health care facilities incorporate post HPT diagnosis counseling sessions for HPT patients in the study area. Also, the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) should re-examine their scope of services; thus, drugs, laboratory services, and electrocardiogram services to avoid the issue of co-payment. Collaboration between healthcare professionals and family relations of patients with HPT ought to also be strengthened to ensure optimal care.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0250355
JournalPLOS ONE
Volume16
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2021

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