BMJ Open. 2023 Sep 13;13(9):e071747. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2023-071747.
INTRODUCTION: Sub-Saharan Africa is experiencing an increasing burden of diabetes, but there are little reliable data, particularly at the community level, on the true prevalence or why this condition affects young and relatively lean individuals. Moreover, the detection of diabetes in Africa remains poor, not only due to a lack of resources but because the performance of available diagnostic tests is unclear.
METHODS: This research aims to (1) determine the prevalence and risk factors of diabetes in a rural Ugandan population, (2) use clinical and biochemical markers to define different diabetes phenotypes and (3) study the progression of diabetes in this population. We will also assess the utility of the widely used tests (glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c), oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) and fasting glucose) in diagnosing diabetes.
DESIGN: This is a population-based study nested within the longstanding general population cohort in southwestern Uganda. We will undertake a population survey to identify individuals with diabetes based on fasting glucose, HbA1c, OGTT results or history of pre-existing diabetes.
PARTICIPANTS: The study intends to enrol up to 11 700 individuals aged 18 years and above, residing within the study area and not pregnant or within 6 months post-delivery date. All participants will have detailed biophysical and biochemical/metabolic measurements. Individuals identified to have diabetes and a random selection of controls will have repeat tests to test reproducibility before referral and enrolment into a diabetic clinic. Participants will then be followed up for 1 year to assess the course of the disease, including response to therapy and diabetes-related complications.
CONCLUSIONS: These data will improve our understanding of the burden of diabetes in Uganda, the risk factors that drive it and underlying pathophysiological mechanisms, as well as better ways to detect this condition. This will inform new approaches to improve the prevention and management of diabetes.
ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: This study protocol was approved by the Uganda Virus Research Institute Research Ethics Committee (REC) (number: G.C./127/21/09/858), the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine REC (number: 26638) and the Uganda National Council for Science and Technology (protocol number: HS1791ES). Written informed consent will be obtained from all participants before being enrolled on to the study and conducting study-related procedures. Research findings will be disseminated in policy briefs, seminars, local and international conferences and publications in peer-reviewed open-access journals. As part of the dissemination plans, findings will also be disseminated to patient care groups and to clinicians.
TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: NCT05487079.