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Eldercare in Cameroon: attendance of a proximity hospital in Yaoundé.

Author(s) Jossy Eyenga-Oli1, Armelle-Lucrèce Ngougni-Kana2, Marcel Azabji-Kenfack3, Eddie-Karistan Lakoudjeu 4, Nkodo Mendimi 5
Affiliation(s) 1Direction, Hôpital de District de la Cité Verte, Yaoundé, Cameroon, 2DESSAF, DESSAF, Yaoundé, Cameroon, 3Department of Physiological Sciences, Faculty of MEdicine and Biomedical Sciences, Yaoundé, Cameroon, 4Social Affairs, DESSAF, Yaounde, Cameroon, 5Direction, Hôpital de district de la Cité Verte, Yaoundé, Cameroon.
Country - ies of focus Cameroon
Relevant to the conference tracks Health Systems
Summary Cameroon is entering a demographic transition era, as elsewhere in Subsaharan Africa, with more old persons in proportion to the general population. But, our hospitals are not prepared for elderly care in terms of attendance, since there are no baseline data. This study examined the attendance of a proximity district urban hospital, and gives the basic statistics of hypertension, diabetes and elderly admission in a 3-months period. We underlined the neccessity of planning a policy in terms of capacity building for elderly.
Background In recent years, several studies have reported that African countries are facing an era of demographic transition, with a marked increase in the proportion of elderly people. In Cameroon, recent statistics reported approximately 6% of older people in the general population.
Because our health services are not fully prepared specifically for the care of the elderly, it is essential to establish a statistical observatory hospital attendance by the elderly. This is in order to build better care policies for this population group. For this purpose, we have conducted this pilot study to provide baseline data in terms of attendance.
Objectives To describe the attendance and basic epidemiological patterns of elderly patients (≥60 years old) admitted to outpatient departments during a 3-months period, monitoring routine activities related to chronic health problems, hypertension and diabetes mellitus.
Methodology It was a cross sectional retrospective study conducted from June to August 2012. Data were collected from medical records, including age, sex, social status, medical history and type of treatment. Incomplete records were excluded from the study. Ageing was defined as follows: Group-A= “Younger patients”, aged 65 years. Statistical analysis was performed using MS Excel 2003.
Results At the outpatients department, we recruited consecutively from the registers a total of 1714 patients during the study period. The mean age of the whole attendance in adult consultations diabetes/hypertension unit was 39.5 years (21-87 years) and the sex ratio (male:female) of 1.08. We recorded 47,8%, 30,7% and 21,5% respectively for Group-A, Group-B and Group-C. Among them, 447 were definitely admitted for Diabetes and 171 for complicated hypertension. The diabetic patients were divided into 18,3% for Group-A, 48,3% in Group-B and 33,3% in Group-C. Hypertension patients were divided into 31,0% for Group-A, 41,5% in Group-B, and 27,5% in Group-C. The main comorbidities associated were chronic kidney disease (25.4% of the total attendance) and chronic heart disease (15,3%).
Conclusion These data show that, both in the outpatient department and admission wards, the proportion of older people varies between 20% and 45% of our health care activities, which is huge compared to the proportion of 6% the age in Cameroon. This pioneer work is an urgent plea to establish a more detailed preliminary for a plan that is dedicated to elderly care in district hospitals statistical observatory. A phase of capacity building of staff in aged care is also a conducive form of retraining.