Mukinayi Mbiya, B.; Tumba Disashi, G.; Gulbis, B. Sickle Cell Disease in the Democratic Republic of Congo: Assessing Physicians’ Knowledge and Practices. Trop. Med. Infect. Dis.2020, 5, 127.
Mukinayi Mbiya, B.; Tumba Disashi, G.; Gulbis, B. Sickle Cell Disease in the Democratic Republic of Congo: Assessing Physicians’ Knowledge and Practices. Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. 2020, 5, 127.
Background: Sickle cell disease is a major public health issue in the DRC while it is still poorly understood by health professionals. The objective of this study was to assess the knowledge and practices of Congolese physicians treating sickle cell disease (SCD) in order to identify areas for improvement in clinical care. Methods: This is a descriptive observational study conducted on Congolese physicians using a questionnaire. Participants were evaluated on a pre-established answer grid. Results: A total of 460 physicians participated, including 81 women (18%) with an average age of 35 years (range 25–60 years). Most physicians were general practitioners. Although self-assessment of their level of knowledge on SCD was estimated as average to good, less than half of the participants (n= 460; 46%) reported adequate management of vaso-occlusive crisis but only 1% of them had received specific training on SCD. Most physicians reported difficulties both in terms of diagnostic (65%) and management (79%) options of SCD patients. This study showed also that 85% of them did not have access to diagnostic tools for SCD. Conclusions: Insufficient knowledge on SCD, poor diagnostic and treatment options may contribute to morbidity and mortality of patients living in the DRC. Interventions aiming at improving physician’s knowledge, patient’s follow-up and treatment access are needed. Specific training alongside existing programs (HIV, malaria), early diagnosis of the disease, and creation of patients’ advocacy groups should improve SCD patient’s care.
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