Tuesday, 17 November 2020 06:58

Doctor-Patient Communication and People Living with HIV/AIDS: A Cross-Section Study from Homa Bay County, Kenya

Written by D. Butto1,3, H. Mberia1, and J. Bosire2
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D. Butto1,3, H. Mberia1, and J. Bosire2

1School of communication and Development Studies, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, P. O. Box 62000-00200 Nairobi,

2Technical University of Kenya, P.O. Box 52428 – 00200, Nairobi- Kenya

3Department of Clinical Medicine, Kirinyaga University, P.O Box 143 – 10300, Kerugoya Kenya

Corresponding Author: dbutto@kyu.ac.ke

Introduction: Effective health provider- patient communication, a precursor to building a wholesome, trusting relationship, has been recognized as a vital factor in cultivating suitable self-management practices among patients with chronic infections like HIV/AIDS. However, the level and determinants of doctor patients’ communication is not well documented in Homa Bay County and therefore, this study was designed to shade more light into this important field. Methods: This was a cross-sectional hospital-based survey conducted among 362 HIV/AIDS patients in Homa Bay County.  Data was collected using a self-administered structured questionnaire. Cronbach's alpha and confirmatory factor analysis tests were used to ascertain the reliability and validity of study instruments, while the Chi-square test was used to establish the relationship between demographic factors and doctor patient communication. Results: 51% of the respondents were females, with the majority, (30.9%) of respondents being in the aged 45 years and above. Most respondents described health provider-patient communication as effective (mean score 3.60, and SD 1.164. Gender, educational level, marital status, and illness duration were all significantly associated with doctor patient communication in this study at p values less than 0.05. However, majority of the respondents were concerned that the clinical officer/doctor was taking too fast (61.3%), used of medical words that were difficult to understand (62.7% and seldom used pictures or drawings or models to explain issues (70.4%), all of which may reduce the effectiveness of doctor-patient communication. Conclusion: This study, therefore, recommends reequipping healthcare providers with effective communication skills, including ability to profile patients with inadequate health literacy who may require special consideration, including taking more time with them and avoiding medical jargon.

Key words: health literacy, doctor-patient communication, HIV/AIDS.

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