A Cross-sectional study on the health-related quality of life of asthmatic children in Nairobi
Background: The burden of asthma worldwide is high and it accounts for the loss of 1% of disability-adjusted life years. The prevalence of the disease in Kenya is over 10% and is on the rise. While it contributes substantially to the burden on the healthcare system, its effects on the quality of life of those affected should not be underestimated. Asthma has been shown to significantly affect the quality of life of those affected in other part of the world, and assessing this component, constitutes an important aspect of the management of patients with asthma. However, similar studies have not yet been undertaken in Kenya. Methods: One hundred and twenty six children with previously diagnosed with asthma between the ages of 7 and 17 years were recruited from the chest clinics at three tertiary care hospitals in Nairobi, Kenya. Health related quality of life (HRQL) and constituent domains namely activity limitation, symptoms and emotional function, and level of asthma control were assessed for each patient using two separate questionnaires. Overall quality of life and domain quality of life scores were calculated and results analyzed in relation to level of asthma control (well-controlled vs. uncontrolled). Results: Health Related Quality of Life is not optimal in the children being attending the chest clinics at the above facilities. All children experienced some level of impairment, with a majority (59%) experiencing moderate to severe impairment. The mean overall HRQL score was 4.65 on a 7-point responsive scale. Level of asthma control is significantly related to HRQL with a correlation coefficient of 0.59(p=0.000). Conclusion: It is important to evaluate HRQL in asthmatic children as an adjunct to overall management so as to improve asthma care, and to ensure that asthma control is also optimal as it is a major determinant of HRQL.