Morbidity and complications of diabetes mellitus in children and adolescents in Ghana: Protocol for a longitudinal study

Vera Adobea Essuman, Naa Naamuah Tagoe, Josephine Akpalu, Akye Essuman, Adziri H. Sackey, C. F. Hayfron-Benjamin, George Asare, Benjamin Abaidoo, A. G. B. Amoah, Thomas Ndanu, I. D. B. Ofori-Adjei, N. A. Barnes, B. L. Appiah-Thompson, Winfried M. Amoaku

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Background: Diabetes is associated with premature morbidity and mortality from its many complications. There are limited data on the chronic complications of diabetes in children and adolescents in sub-Saharan Africa. Objective: The study aims to determine the (1) burden and related factors of chronic systemic complications of diabetes, including diabetic and nondiabetic ocular conditions in children and adolescents, and (2) quality of life (QoL) of participants compared to healthy controls. This manuscript describes the study methodology. Methods: Demographic information, medical history, anthropometric measurements, and laboratory characteristics were collected, and the participants were screened for microvascular and macrovascular complications as well as nondiabetic ocular disease. QoL questionnaires were administered to participants, their caregivers, and controls. Participants were followed up annually up to 3 years to determine the natural history of and trends in these conditions. SPSS Version 25.0 will be used for data analysis. Continuous and categorical data will be presented as mean (SD) and as percentages (%), respectively. t tests and analysis of variance will be used to compare means, and chi-square tests will be used to compare categorical data. Correlation, regression, and logistic regression analyses will be employed to establish linear associations and causal associations as appropriate. Relative risk and odds ratios will be used to estimate risk. QoL outcomes in Ghanaian children and adolescents with diabetes mellitus compared with caregivers and healthy controls will be assessed using the Pediatric Quality of Life inventory. Significance will be set at α=.05. Results: Institutional approval from the Ethical and Protocol Review Committee of the University of Ghana Medical School was received on August 22, 2014 (Protocol Identification Number: MS-Et/M.12-P4.5/2013-2014). Funding for the project was received from the University of Ghana Research Fund (#UGRF/9/LMG-013/2015-2016) in March 2016. Patient recruitment, clinical examination, and data collection commenced in August 2016 and was completed in September 2019. A total of 58 children and adolescents with diabetes mellitus have been recruited. Blood samples were stored at -80 °C for analysis, which was completed at the end of July 2020. Data analysis is ongoing and will be completed by the end of December 2020. Investigators plan to submit the results for publication by the end of February 2021. Conclusions: The prevalence, natural history, trends in diabetic complications and nondiabetic ocular disease, and QoL will be provided. Our data may inform policies and interventions to improve care given to children and adolescents with diabetes. International Registered Report Identifier (IRRID): DERR1-10.2196/21440.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere21440
JournalJMIR Research Protocols
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2021


  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Macrovascular complications
  • Microvascular
  • Quality of life
  • Type 1 diabetes
  • Type 2 diabetes

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