Survey on the prevalence of dyspepsia and practices of dyspepsia management in rural Eastern Uganda

Yang Jae Lee, Gautam Adusumilli, Francis Kyakulaga, Peter Muwereza, Rauben Kazungu, Timothy Scott Blackwell, Jose Saenz, Moonkyung Cho Schubert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Aim: To investigate the current prevalence and management of dyspepsia in rural Eastern Uganda. Methods: Residents older than 18 years of age across 95 study sites in Namutumba District, Eastern Uganda were surveyed. Each respondent was administered a questionnaire about dyspepsia and pertinent health-seeking behaviors. Health workers at 12 different clinics were also assessed on their competence in managing dyspepsia. Proportion-based analysis was used to determine self-reported outcome variables reported in this study, including: prevalence of dyspepsia; breakdown of symptoms; initial diagnosis location; management strategies; and appropriate medication usage. Results: 397 residents (average age of 41.2 years) participated in this study (54.4% males, 45.6% females). 57.9% self-reported currently having dyspepsia, of average duration 4.5 years. Of this subset, 87% reported experiencing epigastric pain, and 42.2% believed that ulcers were “wounds in the stomach.” Only 3% of respondents had heard of Helicobacter pylori (Hp). Respondents varied in their management of dyspepsia, with frequent eating (39.1%), doing nothing (23.9%), and taking Western medicine (20%) being the most common strategies. The diagnosis of “peptic ulcer disease” was made by a health worker in 64.3% of cases, and 27% of cases were self-diagnosed. Notably, 70.3% of diagnoses at formal health centers were based on clinical symptoms alone and only 22.7% of respondents received treatment according to Ugandan Ministry of Health guidelines. Among the 12 health care workers surveyed, 10 cited epigastric pain as a common symptom of “ulcer,” although only two reported having heard of Hp. Only two out of 12 clinics had the capability to prescribe the triple therapy as treatment for presumed Hp. Conclusion: There is a high incidence of dyspepsia in Eastern Uganda, and current management strategies are poor and inconsistent, and may contribute to antibiotic resistance. Further studies are needed to investigate the causes of dyspepsia to guide appropriate management.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere01644
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2019


  • Epidemiology
  • Health profession
  • Internal medicine
  • Public health


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