T W Mothae, G Mosweu, K H Thinyane, and T V Mohlabula I National University of Lesotho
In spite of the development of global guidelines for the management of asthma, asthma control remains suboptimal worldwide. The aim of this study was to assess asthma control among adult patients treated in primary care. A cross-sectional study was conducted over a 3-month period. Asthmatic patients aged 16 years and above were recruited from two primary health care clinics in Maseru, Lesotho. Data were collected using questionnaires and medical record reviews. Asthma control was evaluated according to the Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA) guidelines. Of the 50 patients enrolled, 62% were female, 74% were aged 25–64 years, and the mean duration of asthma was 7.9 years. All of the patients were using inhaled short-acting beta agonists; 38% were also taking inhaled corticosteroids and 32% oral short-acting beta agonists; 48% reported night-time symptoms and 52% activity limitations in the past 4 weeks; 42% had at least one asthma exacerbation in the past 6 months. The percentage of patients with controlled, partly controlled, and uncontrolled asthma was 32%, 34%, and 34% respectively. There was no statistically significant difference in asthma control between patients treated with or without inhaled corticosteroids.
The main findings of the study were that less than a third of the patients achieved asthma control, there was low use of long-term control medications and asthma treatment did not adhere to international guidelines. Interventions to improve asthma care and outcomes should focus on revising existing national treatment guidelines to incorporate recommendations from international guidelines for the management of asthma.