The success of various management techniques used in South African children with type 1 diabetes mellitus

Kerry Leigh Kalweit, Nanette Briers, Steve A S Olorunju


Background. Despite the availability of international guidelines for the treatment of type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM) in children, important aspects of treatment are not accessible to all young patients in South Africa (SA).

Objective. To investigate factors in diabetes management strategies that are associated with poor glycaemic control and decreased quality of life (QoL) in SA children with T1DM.

Methods. Eighty children (mean (standard deviation) age 12.9 (2.7) years) with T1DM were asked to answer standardised questionnaires on demographics, management techniques used and perceptions of diabetes. The height and weight of each child was recorded and glycosylated haemoglobin (HbA1c) measured. Informed consent and assent for each participant was obtained before enrolment.

Results. A total of 51.4% of the participants had poor metabolic control, with an HbA1c level >10.0% (86 mmol/mol). Factors in clinical practice found to have a significant association with decreased HbA1c and/or QoL were healthcare system (p<0.001), insulin administration (p=0.001), correction dose (p=0.002), carbohydrate counting (p<0.001) and number of severe hyperglycaemic events (p=0.048). Regular exercise did not show any association with HbA1c classification or QoL. Children from single-parent households were prone to unsuccessful diabetes management regardless of treatment techniques used (p=0.002).

Conclusions. The use of premixed insulin without access to rapid-acting insulin, absence of correction doses for hyperglycaemia and lack of carbohydrate counting showed significant association with poor diabetes management. Some recommendations regarding the adoption of more effective diabetes management strategies in the public healthcare system are suggested.

Authors' affiliations

Kerry Leigh Kalweit, School of Health Systems and Public Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Pretoria, South Africa; Youth With Diabetes, Johannesburg, South Africa

Nanette Briers, Department of Anatomy, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Pretoria, South Africa

Steve A S Olorunju, Biostatistics Unit, South African Medical Research Council, Pretoria, South Africa

Full Text

PDF (135KB)


Children; Type 1 diabetes mellitus; Management

Cite this article

South African Medical Journal 2015;105(5):400-404. DOI:10.7196/SAMJ.9334

Article History

Date submitted: 2015-09-17
Date published: 2015-09-17

Article Views

Abstract views: 2993
Full text views: 1132

Comments on this article

*Read our policy for posting comments here