Background: Botswana's health care system is based on a primary care model. Various national guidelines exist for specific diseases. However, most of the guidelines address management at a tertiary level and often appear nonapplicable for the limited resources in primary care facilities. An integrated symptom-based guideline was developed so as to translate the Botswana national guidelines to those applicable in primary care. The Botswana Primary Care Guideline (BPCG) integrates the care of communicable diseases, including HIV/AIDS and noncommunicable diseases, by frontline primary health care workers.
Methods: The Department of Family Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Botswana, together with guideline developers from the Knowledge Translation Unit (University of Cape Town) collaborated with the Ministry of Health to develop the guideline. Stakeholder groups were set up to review specific content of the guideline to ensure compliance with Botswana government policy and the essential drug list.
Results: Participants included clinicians, academics, patient advocacy groups, and policymakers from different disciplines, both private and public. Drug-related issues were identified as necessary for implementing recommendations of the guideline. There was consensus by working groups for updating the essential drug list for primary care and expansion of prescribing rights of trained nurse prescribers in primary care within their scope of practice. An integrated guideline incorporating common symptoms of diseases seen in the Botswana primary care setting was developed.
Conclusion: The development of the BPCG took a broad consultative approach with buy in from relevant stakeholders. It is anticipated that implementation of the BPCG will translate into better patient outcomes as similar projects elsewhere have done.
Keywords: Botswana; development; guidelines; primary care.