Article Text


Community health workers improve disease control and medication adherence among patients with diabetes and/or hypertension in Chiapas, Mexico: an observational stepped-wedge study


Background Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) contribute greatly to morbidity and mortality in low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs). Community health workers (CHWs) may improve disease control and medication adherence among patients with NCDs in LMICs, but data are lacking. We assessed the impact of a CHW-led intervention on disease control and adherence among patients with diabetes and/or hypertension in Chiapas, Mexico.

Methods We conducted a prospective observational study among adult patients with diabetes and/or hypertension, in the context of a stepped-wedge roll-out of a CHW-led intervention. We measured self-reported adherence to medications, blood pressure and haemoglobin A1c at baseline and every 3 months, timed just prior to expansion of the intervention to a new community. We conducted individual-level mixed effects analyses of study data, adjusting for time and clustering by patient and community.

Findings We analysed 108 patients. The CHW-led intervention was associated with a twofold increase in the odds of disease control (OR 2.04, 95% CI 1.15 to 3.62). It was also associated with optimal adherence assessed by 30-day recall (OR 1.86; 95% CI 1.15 to 3.02) and a positive self-assessment of adherence behaviour (OR 2.29; 95% CI 1.26 to 4.15), but not by 5-day recall.

Interpretation A CHW-led adherence intervention was associated with disease control and adherence among adults with diabetes and/or hypertension. This study supports a role of CHWs in supplementing comprehensive primary care for patients with NCDs in LMICs.

Trial registration number NCT02549495.

  • hypertension
  • diabetes
  • health systems evaluation

This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See:

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.