Perceptions of inhibitors and facilitators for adhering to hypertension treatment among insured patients in rural Nigeria: A qualitative study

Aina O. Odusola, Marleen Hendriks, Constance Schultsz, Oladimeji A. Bolarinwa, Tanimola Akande, Akin Osibogun, Charles Agyemang, Gbenga Ogedegbe, Kayode Agbede, Peju Adenusi, Joep Lange, Henk Van Weert, Karien Stronks, Joke A. Haafkens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Universal health care coverage has been identified as a promising strategy for improving hypertension treatment and control rates in sub Saharan Africa (SSA). Yet, even when quality care is accessible, poor adherence can compromise treatment outcomes. To provide information for adherence support interventions, this study explored what low income patients who received hypertension care in the context of a community based health insurance program in Nigeria perceive as inhibitors and facilitators for adhering to pharmacotherapy and healthy behaviors. Methods: We conducted a qualitative interview study with 40 insured hypertensive patients who had received hypertension care for > 1 year in a rural primary care hospital in Kwara state, Nigeria. Supported by MAXQDA software, interview transcripts were inductively coded. Codes were then grouped into concepts and thematic categories, leading to matrices for inhibitors and facilitators of treatment adherence. Results: Important patient-identified facilitators of medication adherence included: affordability of care (through health insurance); trust in orthodox "western" medicines; trust in Doctor; dreaded dangers of hypertension; and use of prayer to support efficacy of pills. Inhibitors of medication adherence included: inconvenient clinic operating hours; long waiting times; under-dispensing of prescriptions; side-effects of pills; faith motivated changes of medication regimen; herbal supplementation/substitution of pills; and ignorance that regular use is needed. Local practices and norms were identified as important inhibitors to the uptake of healthier behaviors (e.g. use of salt for food preservation; negative cultural images associated with decreased body size and physical activity). Important factors facilitating such behaviors were the awareness that salt substitutes and products for composing healthier meals were cheaply available at local markets and that exercise could be integrated in people's daily activities (e.g. farming, yam pounding, and household chores). Conclusions: With a better understanding of patient perceived inhibitors and facilitators of adherence to hypertension treatment, this study provides information for patient education and health system level interventions that can be designed to improve compliance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number624
JournalBMC health services research
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2014


  • Adherence
  • Facilitators
  • Health awareness
  • Inhibitors
  • Insured hypertension care
  • Perceptions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy


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