Outcomes of decentralizing hypertension care from district hospitals to health centers in Rwanda, 2013-2014
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JournalPublic Health Action
AbstractSetting: Three district hospitals (DHs) and seven health centers (HCs) in rural Rwanda. Objective: To describe follow-up and treatment outcomes in stage 1 and 2 hypertension patients receiving care at HCs closer to home in comparison to patients receiving care at DHs further from home. Design: A retrospective descriptive cohort study using routinely collected data involving adult patients aged ⩾18 years in care at chronic non-communicable disease clinics and receiving treatment for hypertension at DH and HC between 1 January 2013 and 30 June 2014. Results: Of 162 patients included in the analysis, 36.4% were from HCs. Patients at DHs travelled significantly further to receive care (10.4 km vs. 2.9 km for HCs, P < 0.01). Odds of being retained were significantly lower among DH patients when not adjusting for distance (OR 0.11, P = 0.01). The retention effect was consistent but no longer significant when adjusting for distance (OR 0.18, P = 0.10). For those retained, there was no significant difference in achieving blood pressure targets between the DHs and HCs. Conclusion: By removing the distance barrier, decentralizing hypertension management to HCs may improve long-term patient retention and could provide similar hypertension outcomes as DHs.