The prevalence of diabetes in sub-Saharan Africa has increased rapidly over the last years. Self-management is a key element for the proper management, but strategies are currently lacking in this context. This systematic review aims to describe the level of self-management among persons living with type 2 diabetes mellitus in sub-Saharan Africa.
Relevant databases including PubMed, Web of Science and Google Scholar were searched up to September 2016. Studies reporting self-management behavior of people with type 2 diabetes mellitus and living in sub-Saharan Africa were included.
A total of 550 abstracts and 109 full-text articles were assessed. Forty-three studies, mainly observational, met the inclusion criteria. The studies showed that patients rarely self-monitored their glucose levels, had low frequency/duration of physical activity, moderately adhered to recommended dietary and medication behavior, had poor level of knowledge regarding diabetes related complications and sought traditional or herbal medicines beside of their biomedical treatment. The analysis also revealed a lack of studies on psychosocial aspects.
Except for the psychosocial area, there is a good amount of recent studies on self-management behavior of type 2 diabetes mellitus sub-Saharan Africa. These studies indicate that self-management in sub-Saharan Africa is poor and therefore a serious threat to the health of individuals and the health systems capacity.