Exploring patient experiences with and attitudes towards hypertension at a private hospital in Uganda: A qualitative study

Hayley M. Lynch, Aliza S. Green, Rose Clarke Nanyonga, Darinka D. Gadikota-Klumpers, Allison Squires, Jeremy I. Schwartz, David J. Heller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Hypertension is the leading risk factor for mortality worldwide and is more common in sub-Saharan Africa than any other region. Work to date confirms that a lack of human and material resources for healthcare access contributes to this gap. The ways in which patients' knowledge and attitudes toward hypertension determine their engagement with and adherence to available care, however, remains unclear. Methods: We conducted an exploratory, qualitative descriptive study to assess awareness, knowledge, and attitudes towards hypertension and its management at a large private hospital in Kampala. We interviewed 64 participants (29 with hypertension and 34 without, 1 excluded) in English. General thematic analysis using the Integrated Conceptual Health Literacy Model was used to iteratively generate themes and categories. Results: We identified three main themes: Timing of Hypertension Diagnosis, Aiming for Health Literacy, and the Influence of Knowledge on Behavior. Most participants with hypertension learned of their condition incidentally, speaking to the lack of awareness of hypertension as an asymptomatic condition. Drove nearly all participants to desire more information. However, many struggled to translate knowledge into self-management behaviors due to incomplete information and conflicting desires of participants regarding lifestyle and treatment. Conclusions: Internal patient factors had a substantial impact on adherence, calling attention to the need for educational interventions. Systemic barriers such as cost still existed even for those with insurance and need to be recognized by treating providers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number206
JournalInternational Journal for Equity in Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 30 2019


  • Health literacy
  • Hypertension
  • Non-communicable diseases (NCDs)
  • Qualitative research
  • Uganda

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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