Management of diabetes and self-care practices among older adolescents with type 1 diabetes at two central hospitals

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The study aimed at assessing knowledge levels and practices on management of type 1 diabetes among adolescents at Queen Elizabeth and Kamuzu Central Hospital. It was a quantitative research that used a descriptive cross sectional design. The participants were recruited using convenience sampling method, with a total of 46 adolescents. Data was collected using a structured questionnaire on various aspects of diabetes that included knowledge on management, self care practices, type of support and challenges faced in managing the condition. The data was analyzed using two statistical packages; IBM SPSS Statistics version 20, to enter and summarize data and R version 3.1 to analyze statistical relationships between variables of interest. Relationship between demographic variables and knowledge of diabetes was established using spearman correlation for continuous variables and for categorical variables, Chi-square test was used. A total of 63% (n=29) of the respondents knew the cause of type 1 diabetes and 58% (n=42) had inadequate knowledge on managing hyperglycemia. There was a significant association between age and number of admissions (P=0.022) and no link between knowledge and self care practices (P>0.05). Majority (64%, n=28) of the adolescents were injecting themselves with insulin. Sixty four percent (n=39) of the adolescents were inappropriately doing the self monitoring of blood glucose. Majority of the adolescents (70%, n=32) knew why changing insulin injection site is important and 78% (n=36) of them were not counseled on diet plan. Psychological support was the least provided by family (11%, n=13) and health care providers (9%, n=11). Lack of blood glucose monitoring equipment and erratic insulin supply were mentioned as some barriers affecting management and self care Knowledge, ability to perform self care practices and support, affects diabetes management behaviors among adolescents. Findings from the study revealed inadequate knowledge amongst the adolescent’s on diabetes and diabetes self care practices. Therefore, there is need to train health care providers on diabetes and develop health education materials for adolescents with type 1 diabetes