Fatemeh Ehteshami, Rachel Cassidy, Fabrizio Tediosi, Günther Fink, Daniel Cobos Muñoz

Combining Theory-Driven Realist Approach and Systems Thinking to Unpack Complexity of Type 2 Diabetes and Hypertension Management in Low and Middle-Income Countries: Protocol for a Realist Review

  • Information Systems and Management
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Software

The burden of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and hypertension (HTN) has increased worldwide in recent decades, particularly in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). In these countries, health systems often struggle to provide effective health care services for the management of chronic conditions. We have developed a study protocol with the aim of conducting a realist review to delve into the complexities behind the management of T2DM and HTN in LMICs. First, we have developed a causal loop diagram (CLD) serving as the initial program theory to represent the health system drivers associated with the effective (or ineffective) management of T2DM and HTN. Next, we will search, select, appraise, extract and analyze the relevant evidence. This evidence will be used to refine and extend the initial program theory to transform it into a middle-range program theory. This will then be verified through Group Model Building (GMB) sessions. The evidence will be summarized applying RAMESES (Realist And MEta-narrative Evidence Syntheses: Evolving Standards). In combining a systems thinking approach with a realist approach to program evaluation, we aim to unravel the mechanisms that govern the management of T2DM and HTN, and the relation between health system-related factors, which lead to outcomes, in different contexts.

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