Results of the study “Access to health services for chronic disease care during the COVID 19 pandemic in Ecuador: a qualitative approach using a Social Determinants of Health approach”.
Chronic disease monitoring and diagnosis were disrupted during the COVID-19 pandemic.
This qualitative study explores how the COVID-19 pandemic impacted access to health care for patients with type 2 diabetes and hypertension from the perspective of patients in Quito and in the Eloy Alfaro Canton of Esmeraldas, Ecuador.
We conducted in-depth interviews with 19 adult patients (10 women and 9 men) diagnosed with hypertension or type 2 diabetes in rural and urban areas of Ecuador during August and September 2020. The interviews were conducted following a semi-structured script and by telephone. We used the Framework Method to analyse the transcripts of the interviews in pairs and organised the ideas discussed using the categories of the WHO Commission on Social Determinants of Health conceptual framework.
The study found that access to health care for patients with hypertension and diabetes was marked by social and economic inequalities, which were exacerbated after the COVID-1 pandemic in Ecuador. Stock-outs, the lack of protective labour policies and the limited scope of policies to anticipate health emergencies are likely to have worsened pre-existing health inequalities in Ecuador.