Impact of Functional Health Literacy in Chronic Disease Management: The Public Health Dilemma in Pakistan
Inadequate health literacy among patients of chronic diseases may lead to inappropriate use of medicine, low adherence to medication and lack of functional social support. Objective: The present study was designed to assess performance of functional health literacy among hypertensive and diabetes type II patients in Pakistan. Methodology: A descriptive cross-sectional study design was used. A pre-validated tool Rapid Estimate of Adult Literacy in Medicine (REALM) was self-administered to a sample of 382 diabetic and hypertensive patients treated in public and private healthcare facilities in two cities of Pakistan. After data collection, data was cleaned coded and entered in SPSS version 21.0. Descriptive statistics comprising of frequency and percentages was calculated. Mann-Whitney and Kruskal-Walis (p ≥ 0.05) were performed to find out the difference among different variables. Results: The results of the present study showed poor functional health literacy among diabetic and hypertensive patients in Pakistan. The composite mean scores for functional support (2.54, ± 1.752) and adult literacy (1.76, ± 2.304) were low whereas readiness ruler was (6.86, ± 7.00) which indicated positive approach of the patients to change. Conclusion: The results of the present study concluded poor health literacy and inadequate perceived functional social support among diabetic and hypertensive patients in Pakistan. Healthcare providers should recognize inadequate health literacy and social support as foremost barriers to be addressed towards patient non-compliance.
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