The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

5042.0: Wednesday, November 19, 2003 - Board 7

Abstract #63947

Health status among the elderly in Botswana

Thomas Clausen, MD1, Tor Inge Romøren, Dr Med2, and Gerd Holmboe-Ottesen, Prof1. (1) Department of General Practice and Community Medicine, University of Oslo, Medical Faculty, P.O Box 1130, Blindern, N-0318 Oslo, Norway, +4722850550,, (2) Institute of Norwegian Social Research (NOVA), P.O. Box 3223, Elisenberg, 0208 Oslo, Norway

Aims: To study health problems and their basic socio-demographic correlates (age, gender, SES, area of residence) among the elderly in Botswana.

Material and methods: Data were collected in 1998 as part of a national household survey (n=1085, above 60 years). A medical survey was carried out on a representative sub-sample of 372 respondents (response rate 72 %). Home visits including personal interviews and medical examinations were performed.

Results: General health: Self reported health: 25% reported good health, 60% minor health problems and 15 % severe health problems. Somatic health: 68% reported muscle-skeletal pain in 2 or more locations, 42% were found to be hypertensive, 32% reported dermatological problems, and 11% were found to be blind. Mental health: 9% were found to have cognitive impairment. 7% were found to have depression.

Logistic regression analyses reveal that female gender is associated with higher risk of hypertension, dermatological problems and muscle-skeletal pain; Odds Ratios were 2.9, 2.3 and 2.2 respectively. Age above 80 years was associated with increased risk of; blindness, cognitive impairment and muscle-skeletal pain; OR: 21.0, 4.7 and 3.8 respectively. Associations with SES or area of residence were few and generally weak.


Muscle-skeletal pain was the single most commonly reported health problem. Gender and age are important factors to differentiate risk estimates of major health problems in this population. A large number of elderly in Botswana suffer from one or more health problems that may cause reduced quality of life. Several of the conditions may easily be diagnosed and/or treated.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Developing Countries, Aging

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

International Health Posters V

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA