The last frontier for global non-communicable disease action: The emergency department—A cross-sectional study from East Africa

Christine Ngaruiya, Mbatha Wambua, Thomas Kedera Mutua, Daniel Owambo, Morgan Muchemi, Kipkoech Rop, Kaitlin R. Maciejewski, Rebecca Leff, Mugane Mutua, Benjamin Wachira

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction Deaths due to non-communicable diseases (NCDs) have surpassed those due to communicable diseases globally and are projected to do so in Africa by 2030. Despite demonstrated effectiveness in high-income country (HIC) settings, the ED is a primary source of NCD care that has been under-prioritized in Africa. In this study, we assess the burden of leading NCDs and NCD risk factors in Kenyan Casualty Department patients to inform interventions targeting patients with NCDs in emergency care settings. Materials and methods Using the WHO STEPwise approach to surveillance (STEPS) tool and the Personal Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9), we conducted a survey of 923 adults aged 18 and over at Kenyatta National Hospital Emergency Department (KNH ED) between May-October 2018. Age, income, household size(t-test), sex, education, marital status, work status, and poverty status (chi-squared test or fisher’s exact test) were assessed using descriptive statistics and analyzed using covariate-adjusted logistic analysis. Results Over a third of respondents had hypertension (35.8%, n = 225/628), 18.3% had raised blood sugar or diabetes (18.3%, n = 61/333), and 11.7% reported having cardiovascular disease (11.7%, n = 90/769). Having lower levels of education was associated with tobacco use (OR 6.0, 95% CI 2.808–12.618, p < 0.0001), while those with higher levels of education reported increased alcohol use (OR 0.620 (95% CI 0.386–0.994, p = 0. 0472). While a predominant proportion of respondents had had some form of screening for either hypertension (80.3%, n = 630/772), blood sugar (42.6%, n = 334/767) or cholesterol (13.9%, n = 109/766), the proportion of those on treatment was low, with the highest proportion being half of those diagnosed with hypertension reporting taking medication (51.6%, n = 116/225). Conclusions This study establishes the ED as a high-risk population with potential for high impact in East Africa, should targeted interventions be implemented. Comprehension of the unique epidemiology and characteristics of patients presenting to the ED is key to guide care in African populations.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0248709
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number4 April
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'The last frontier for global non-communicable disease action: The emergency department—A cross-sectional study from East Africa'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this