A study has found that compliance to insulin therapy use and blood glucose control among diabetes patients in Bhutan was poor.

The study was conducted this year to find compliance to insulin injection, assess technique of injection, and the disposal practices of sharps in the country.

A descriptive cross-sectional study was carried out at the diabetes clinics of the national referral hospital, and Mongar and Gelephu referral hospitals from January to June 2017.

A total of 207 diabetes patients were assessed for the study. Of the total, 198 had Type two diabetes.

General duties medical officer (GDMO) with the Phuentsholing general hospital, Dr Thinley Dorji, said a majority of the patients used insulin syringe or syringe and needle. Only five patients used an insulin pen.

He presented the findings at the third international conference on medical and health sciences in Thimphu on November 4.

Dr Thinley Dorji said it was found that 136 patients stored insulin in the door of the refrigerator and 64 in the freezer compartment. Four patients stored insulin pens in the door and one on the shelf of the refrigerator.

It was learned that 74.4 percent of the patients (154) self-injected the insulin while for 25.6 percent (53) patients, it is given by caregivers at home.

“Technique of giving the insulin was found correct in the majority,” Dr Thinley Dorji said.

It was also found that blood sugar control was poor.

In terms of disposal of sharps generated after injecting, it was found that disposal methods are not safe. About 67 patients returned to the hospitals, 61 disposed of directly in dry waste, 13 disposed off in a sealed container in dry waste, and 32 buried. About 21 patients burnt the sharps while 13 stored at home.

The study recommends addressing the barriers to poor compliance by increasing education to the patients and caregivers and a need to develop a protocol for disposal of sharps generated from self-injection of insulin.

Dechen Tshomo