Ventricular Septal Defect patients counseling at Ribat University Hospital in regards to their doctor's between May 2021 and December 2021

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Ahmed Omer Elsadig
Ayat Mussa
Ahmed Abd Elnasser
Mustafa Moneir Diab
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Napata College
Introduction: The World Health Organization (WHO) defines counselling as ‘a well-focused process, limited in time and specific, which uses the interaction to help people deal with their problems and respond in a proper way to specific difficulties in order to develop new coping strategies. A doctor-patient relationship formed when a doctor attends to a patient’s medical needs and this relation built on trust, respect, communication and a common understanding of both doctor and patients’ (1). As a patient, being counseled in a good manner enables you to obtain sufficient information about your health problem, symptoms and available treatment, then how to deal properly and cope with the disease. Many patients suffer because they do not know enough about their disease so they deal with it wrongly, which leads them to a worse condition. Effective physician-patient communication has been shown to positively influence health outcomes by increasing patient satisfaction so a physician must appreciate that the patient is not just a group of symptoms, damaged organ and alerted emotions but he is human being. The United States’ (henceforth only referred to as US) Center for Disease Control (CDC) defines VSD as ‘a birth defect of the heart in which there is a hole in the wall (septum) that separates the two lower chambers (ventricles) of the heart.’ (2). Symptoms of VSD include, as per Mayo Clinic’s website ‘poor eating, failure to thrive; fast breathing or breathlessness; easy tiring………… Sometimes a VSD isn't detected until a person reaches adulthood. Symptoms and signs can include shortness of breath or a heart murmur’ (3). Research Methodology: This is a descriptive hospital-based cross-sectional study that took place in RUH. Our results showed that patients of the younger age group (18-23) were more knowledgeable regarding VSD than their comparatively elder counterparts (24+). There was a significant correlation between the patients’ socioeconomic level and their knowledge of their illness (those found to be of a ‘higher’ socioeconomic status possessed more knowledge of how VSD manifests itself as opposed to those deemed to be of a ‘lower’ socioeconomic status), the same was found to be true in regards to the patients’ educational level (those with higher levels of education were found to be better knowledgeable of their illness). Most (72%) were between the ages of 18 and 23, and were diagnosed between birth and 5 years of age (64%). None of our participants were diagnosed with VSD post the age of 15. 82% of our participants held a secondary education degree. 14% held post-secondary degrees, while 4% had only primary education 67% were found to have an income of under 100,000 SDG per month. 27% had a monthly income between 100,001 and 300,000 SDG per month, while only 6% of our participants had an income of over 300,000 SDG a month. In so far as the patients views in regards to their doctor’s ‘rudeness’ towards them, only 7% considered their doctor to be very rude ‘8-10’, while 27% considered their doctor to be kind ‘1-3’. The remainder 66% were rather neutral, assessing their doctors at between 4 and 7 on the ‘rudeness’ scale. 85% answered ‘yes’ when asked if their doctors explained their illness to them. Most of those (78%) were very satisfied with their doctors’ explanation, 3% were very dissatisfied with it and 10% were neutral on the topic. 100% of our participants answered ‘Yes’ when asked if their doctors explained the function(s) of their medication. 100% were very satisfied with the aforementioned explanation. 26% of our participants had only been with one doctor, 74% had seen at least 2 doctors in their lifetime. Despite this, only 7% of them had changed doctors due to them not liking the way their doctors treated them. The findings were consistent with data pertaining to the education of parents of children with VSD. Conclusion: In conclusion, our research showed that patients were not very knowledgeable in regards to their illness. It also showed that not enough medical doctors sufficiently teach their patients of their illness. Recommendations: i) The use of echocardiography screening in newborns in areas with high levels of reported VSD. ii) The exploitation of virtual communication technologies to aid in the education process regarding VSDs. iii) The invitation of experts on the topic in public platforms and allowing them to discuss their topic of knowledge so as to see to it that more trustworthy information is available to the public. iv) Teaching of communication skills courses in medical schools and insistence upon the student showing the ability to convey information to patients in a manner understandable to them. v) Positive work towards increasing the ratio of doctors to patients so as to see to it that the doctors are provided better time per patient. vi) The introduction of motivational payment plans for doctors so that younger individuals find themselves motivated to join medicine. The conduction of research in Sudan regarding VSD, counselling, and VSD counselling.