Background Isolated reports from some regions of Nigeria have found prevalence rates to range from 0.9?8.3%. In Nigeria, where healthcare services and accessibility are poor, diabetes mellitus is associated with considerable morbidity and mortality. Diabetes is also a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease, stroke, and kidney failure. It is believed that appropriate patients? knowledge of self care is the key to achieving therapeutic goals in ambulatory care.

Objective This study aimed to assess type 2 diabetic patients? knowledge of self-care practices.

Methods A 28-item questionnaire consisting of 5 point response scale was developed for the survey. Factor analysis was performed using principal axis factoring extraction with varimax rotation. Validity and reliability were established. This survey was conducted in five states of south-eastern Nigeria. Health care facilities included four tertiary hospitals and six secondary hospitals.

Results Knowledge of diabetes self-care was associated with sex, age, educational status, and years with diabetes. Female patients, younger patients (18-35 years), patients who were attending or stopped at secondary school and patients who had lived many years with diabetes (>10 years) were more likely to be knowledgeable. When extracted knowledge factor 2 (self care), factor 3 (cardiovascular complications), and factor 4 (non-cardiovascular complications) were correlated with factor 1 (diabetes) their correlation coefficients were 0.90, 0.94, and 0.71 respectively. This implies that knowledge of diabetes self care and knowledge of cardiovascular complications increase as the knowledge of diabetes increases but the increase about knowledge of non-cardiovascular complications is slower with increase about knowledge of diabetes. Following communalities determination, the mean total score was 98.50±21.87.

Conclusion This study has shown that type 2 diabetic outpatients in south-eastern Nigeria were knowledgeable about diabetes self care practices and that knowledge of diabetes self care is dependent on the knowledge of diabetes. 

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