Exploring knowledge, attitudes and practices related to diabetes in Mongolia: a national population-based survey
1 Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Blegdamsvej 3, Copenhagen, DK-2200, Denmark
2 Copenhagen School of Global Health, University of Copenhagen, Blegdamsvej 3, Copenhagen, DK-2200, Denmark
3 Public Health Institute, Mongolian Ministry of Health, Olympic Street 2, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
4 Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Blegdamsvej 3, Copenhagen, DK-2200, Denmark
5 Public Health Institute, Mongolian Ministry of Health, Olympic Street 2, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
6 Department of Health Services Research, Institute of Public Health, University of Copenhagen, Blegdamsvej 3, Copenhagen, DK-2200, Denmark
BMC Public Health 2013, 13:236 doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-236Published: 18 March 2013
Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are now the leading causes of mortality in Mongolia, and diabetes, in particular, is a growing public health threat. Mongolia is a nation undergoing rapid and widespread epidemiological transition and urbanisation: a process that is expected to continue in coming decades and is likely to increase the diabetes burden. To better inform policy and public-health responses to the impact of the growth in NCDs, a national NCD Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices survey was implemented in Mongolia in 2010; a section of which focused on diabetes.
This survey was a nationally-representative, household-based questionnaire conducted by field-workers. Households were selected using a multi-stage, cluster sampling technique, with one participant (aged 15–64) selected from each of the 3540 households. Questions explored demographic and administrative parameters, as well as knowledge attitudes and practices around NCDs and their risk factors.
This research suggests low levels of diabetes-related health knowledge in Mongolia. Up to fifty percent of Mongolian sub-populations, and one in five of the total population, had never heard the term diabetes prior to surveying. This research also highlights a high level of misunderstanding around the symptomatology and natural progression of diabetes; for example, one-third of Mongolians were unaware that the disease could be prevented through lifestyle changes. Further, this study suggests that a low proportion of Mongolians have received counseling or health education about diabetes, with lowest access to such services for the urban poor and least educated sub-populations.
This research suggests a low prevalence of diabetes-related health-knowledge among Mongolians. In this light, health-education should be part of any national strategy on diabetes.