The health system in Iraq has undergone progressive decline since the embargo that followed the second gulf war in 1991. The aim of this study is to see barriers to glycemic control form the patient perspective, in a diabetic clinic in the south of Iraq.
A cross sectional study from the diabetes out-patient clinic in Al-Faiha general hospital in Basrah, South Iraq for the period from January to December 2007. The study includes diabetic patients whether type 1 or 2 if they have at least one year of follow up in the same clinic. Those with A1C ≥ 7% were interviewed by special questionnaire, that was filled in by the medical staff of the clinic. The subjects analyzed in this study were adults (≥ 18 years old) with previously diagnosed diabetes (n = 3522). The duration of diabetes range from 1 to 30 years.
Mean A1C was 8.4 ± 2 percent, with 835(23.7%) patients with A1C less than 7% and 2688(76.3%) equal to or more than 7%. Of 3522 studied patients, 46.6% were men and 51.5% were women, with mean age of 53.78 ± 12.81 year and age range 18–97 years. Patient opinion for not achieving good glycemic control among 2688 patients with HbA1C ≥ 7% included the following. No drug supply from primary health care center (PHC) or drug shortage is a cause in 50.8% of cases, while drugs and or laboratory expense were the cause in 50.2%. Thirty point seven percent of patients said that they were unaware of diabetics complications and 20.9% think that diabetes is an untreatable disease. Thirty percent think that non-control of their diabetes is due to migration after the war. No electricity or erratic electricity, self-monitoring of blood glucose (SMBG) is not available, or strips were not available or could not be used, and illiteracy as a cause was seen in 15%, 10.8% and 9.9% respectively.
Our patients with diabetes mellitus declared that of the causes for poor glycemic control most of them related to the current health situation in Iraq.