Knowledge and practices of stroke survivors regarding secondary stroke prevention, Khomas region, Namibia

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Secondary stroke occurs in approximately one third of stroke survivors within five years thus it is a major public health concern. Secondary stroke occurrences largely represent failed secondary prevention. There is paucity of study evidence on stroke survivor knowledge and practices regarding secondary stroke prevention in Namibia. The purpose of this study was to determine the knowledge and practices of stroke survivors with regard to secondary stroke prevention in the Khomas Region, in Namibia. A quantitative, descriptive and explorative design was used. Face-to-face structured interviews were conducted utilising a structured questionnaire to collect data from a sample of (n=60) stroke survivors from a population of discharged stroke survivors fromthe Katutura State Hospital in year 2012. Data were analysed using Epi Info statistical package version 5.3.1. Ethical considerations were observed during all stages of the study. Knowledge on secondary stroke prevention appears to be very low among stroke survivors with about 40.0% of stroke survivors unaware they are at an increased risk of suffering another stroke. Almost half of stroke survivors were unable to name a single appropriate action to take to prevent secondary stroke. A significant proportion of stroke survivors also continue to smoke and or drink contrary to expectations and recommendations. Only a relatively small percentage of stroke survivors comply with lifestyle changes prescribed to them like diet modification and engaging in physical exercise activities. However, hypertensive and diabetic stroke survivors seem to have satisfactory medication compliance levels. To improve on secondary stroke prevention it is recommended that health education regarding stroke management and stroke prevention should be strengthened. The immediate implementation of a support and follow-up programme with a monitoring and evaluation guide for stroke survivors after hospital discharge is also recommended. Follow-up and support of discharged stroke patients also needs to be improved. Further research could be conducted to ascertain stroke awareness among the general population as well as population surveys on stroke predisposing factors and diseases.
A thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the Degree of Master in Public Health
Stroke, Stroke prevention, Namibia