Original Research

Patients’ lived experiences of self-injectable diabetes treatment: A phenomenological study

Frans N. Ndara, Vistolina Nuuyoma
Health SA Gesondheid | Vol 28 | a2359 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hsag.v28i0.2359 | © 2023 Frans N. Ndara, Vistolina Nuuyoma | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 11 February 2023 | Published: 15 September 2023

About the author(s)

Frans N. Ndara, School of Nursing and Public Health, Faculty of Health Sciences and Veterinary Medicine, University of Namibia, Rundu, Namibia
Vistolina Nuuyoma, School of Nursing and Public Health, Faculty of Health Sciences and Veterinary Medicine, University of Namibia, Rundu, Namibia


Background: A diabetes diagnosis has significant implications and affects the individual’s health and social opportunities; it may also carry ethical and cultural consequences, especially when self-injectable treatment is involved. Therefore, it is important to understand lived experiences of patients on self-injectable diabetes treatment to establish initiatives and develop coping mechanisms that may reduce disease morbidity.

Aim: This study explored and described patients’ lived experiences of self-injectable treatment for diabetes mellitus type 1 and 2.

Setting: The study was conducted in the Rundu health district, Kavango east region, Namibia.

Method: A phenomenological qualitative design was used. The sample consisted of 10 purposively selected patients on self-injectable treatment and data were collected through unstructured individual interviews. Data analysis followed an interpretative phenomenological approach. Ethical principles were adhered to, including respect for autonomy, non-maleficence, beneficence, and justice and ethical clearance was obtained.

Results: Self-injectable treatment is cost-effective, promotes self-care, and relieves the burden on nurses and doctors. But it is a lonely journey, causing uncertainty about the future and self-stigmatisation. Moreover, unfamiliarity with injection techniques, challenges in storing medication, and disposing of used needles and other waste were revealed.

Conclusion: Patients on self-injectable diabetes treatment have positive and negative lived experiences. It is recommended that family members provide adequate support and that healthcare workers reinforce education on diabetes for these individuals.

Contribution: The findings can be used to develop patients’ education and training packages, guide the development and implementation of diabetes coping mechanisms, and initiate intersectoral collaboration to assist patients undergoing injectable treatment.


diabetes; diabetes mellitus; diabetes treatment; patients’ experiences; self-administration; self-care; self-injection; self-management; type 1 diabetes; type 2 diabetes

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 3: Good health and well-being


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