A Nurse-Physician Led Multidisciplinary Team Improves Access, Treatment, and Management of Diabetes and Hypertension in Adult Residents of a Rural Community in Nigeria

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Ukamaka Oruche, PhD, RN
School of Nursing, Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis, Indianapolis, IN

Learning Objective 1: 1. The learner will be able to describe the prevalence of diabetes and high blood pressure in this rural community in southern Nigeria, Africa

Learning Objective 2: 2. The learner will be able to identify the 2-3 essential components for sustaining an effective international collaboration


Developing countries have limited resources contributing to high morbidity and mortality rates from chronic diseases. The purpose of this presentation is to describe an innovative nurse-physician led international collaboration to increase access to health care and improve treatment and behavioral management of diabetes and hypertension in adult residents of a rural community in Nigeria, West Africa.


The nurse conducted a needs-assessment during a tour, with the medical director, of the community hospital and health center and identified two priority needs, namely, provision of medical supplies and running water. The nurse used her knowledge, skills, and professional networks to meet these needs.

Results: A multidisciplinary team of volunteer healthcare professionals was developed to provide an annual and intensive, 3-day health screening and treatment for health conditions, with emphasis on diabetes and hypertension, and a weekly ½ -day clinic for follow-up care. The health event serves about 800 patients (adults, 24 to 82 years old; 75% women and 25% men). 50 to 100 patients receive weekly follow-up care. Patient education is emphasized and has resulted in long-term and sustained benefits including dispelling of false health beliefs about disease causation, facilitating early diagnosis, medication and dietary management of disease, and improved blood sugar and blood pressure control. Collaboration with a university-based teaching hospital in the region was established and nursing students participate in the annual health event and have gained clinical experience about community health and public service.  On-site running water was funded by a matching grant from Rotary International.


Nurses can lead effective international collaborations to increase access to treatment and management of diabetes and hypertension in underserved populations. Sustenance requires strong grassroots commitment and accountability. There is a need to systematically track long-term outcomes to inform continued improvement in the health of this population.