Radical Patient Self Management will address current health challenges in Africa.

The need for differential care to address health challenges including the low ratio of medical doctors to patients in developing countries across Africa necessitated a debate during the just concluded INTEREST 2019 conference which took place in Accra, Ghana. Divers views exist as to whether radical patient self-management will address the current health challenges in Africa.

Scientists argue that while radical patient self-management could be seen as differential care especially for patients who have shown adherence to drugs over an extended period of time. However, there is a need to have a clear model for which patients would be placed on radical self-management.

Radical self-medication is convenient for patients. It is as well economical for both the healthcare system and the patients. This would reduce frequent facility visits for patients who have demonstrated satisfactory adherence to drug regimen over time thus create more time for doctors to see patients who need more frequent visits to the facility for urgent medical care. However, patients on radical self management could be followed up through targeted facility visits. One of the conference attendees, a woman who has been living with HIV over 17 years and adhering to ARV said ‘’I still feel worrisome that after 17 years of living with HIV, I still have to visit the hospital regularly to get ARV and see the doctor… such time should be rather focused on others who need regular facility visits than myself’. According to her, it best work for her to be on radical patient self management as this saves time and resources for her and the healthcare provider.

In other to sample the audience views on the topic of debate, voting was done before and after the debate on whether Radical Patient Self Management will address current health challenges in Africa. Out of the 106 delegates that voted prior to the debate, 60 (56%), 35 (33%) and 11 (10%) voted Agree, Disagree and Undecided respectively. Similarly, voting result after the debate showed that more conference delegates (60%) agreed that Radical Patient Self Management will address current health challenges in Africa as seen in the post-debate voting of 60%, 30% and 5% for agree, disagree and undecided respectively.

Apart from adherence to the drug regimen, there is a need to consider other issues including patients knowledge and access to necessary health information, effectiveness of the M&E system for relevant data collection. There is also a question of who qualifies for radical self-management? Other socioeconomic considerations including security, poverty and other related factors that may affect patient’s mental health are also critical as these issues would necessitate for occasional visits to the facility for proper patient management.

By 

Orobosa Enadeghe

2017 LeNNiB Champion