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PLoS One. 2017 Jan 3;12(1):e0169062. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0169062. eCollection 2017.

Self-Care Practices among Diabetes Patients in Addis Ababa: A Qualitative Study.

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Addis Continental Institute of Public Health, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.



Self-care practices that include self-monitoring of blood sugar level, diet management, physical exercise, adherence to medications, and foot care are the cornerstones of diabetes management. However, very little is known about self-care in developing countries where the prevalence of diabetes is increasing.


The objective of this study was to describe self-care practices among individuals with type II diabetes in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.


A qualitative method was used to gather data from type II diabetes patients. Patients were recruited from the outpatient diabetes clinics of two public hospitals in Addis Ababa. Data were collected using a semi structured interview guide. A thematic analysis approach was used to process the data.


Overall self-care practices were not adequate. Most patients reported irregular self-monitoring of blood sugar. Dietary and physical exercise recommendations were inadequately practiced by most of the participants. Most patients better adhered to medication prescriptions. Patients generally lack proper information/knowledge regarding the importance of self-care and how it should be implemented. Based on reported behavior we identified three main categories of patients; which are those 'endeavor to be compliant', 'confused' and 'negligent'.


Diabetes patients largely depend on prescribed medications to control their blood sugar level. The importance of proper self-care practices for effective management of diabetes is not adequately emphasized in diabetes care centers and patients lack sufficient knowledge for proper self-care.

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