Access to medicines for hypertension: A survey in rural Yogyakarta province, Indonesia

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Journal Article
Rural and Remote Health, 2018, 18 (3)
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© James Cook University. Introduction: Obtaining an adequate supply of medicines is an important step in facilitating medication adherence. This study aimed to determine (1) how people with hypertension in rural villages in Indonesia obtain their supply of anti-hypertensive medications, (2) the type of hypertension medication taken and (3) factors associated with where and how people obtain their medicines supplies. Method: Data pertaining to people with hypertension (age ≥45 years) were collected from eight rural villages in the Bantul district, Yogyakarta province, Indonesia, using a researcher-administered questionnaire. Results: Of 384 participants, 203 (52.9%) obtained anti-hypertensive medications from public or private healthcare services. The most common way was by purchasing these medicines without prescription in community pharmacies (n=64, 17%). The medicines obtained this way included captopril, amlodipine, nifedipine, and bisoprolol. One-hundred and nineteen (15%) participants obtained their medicines at no cost by visiting public healthcare services such as community health centres (n=51), the Integrated Health Service Post for the Elderly (n=53), and the public hospitals (n=15). Direct dispensing from clinicians was reported by participants who visited a doctor (n=15), midwife (n=23) or nurse (n=21). Having access to an adequate medication supply (ie for an entire 30 days) was reported by 40 (10.4%) participants, who obtained the medication from a community health centre (n=18), public hospital (n=4), community pharmacy (n=5), private hospital (n=2), or multiple sources (n=11). A higher formal education level was associated with obtaining medicines from multiple sources rather than from the public or private provider only. Living near a community health centre and having government insurance were associated with obtaining medicines from the public health service. Age, gender, employment, presence of other chronic diseases, and knowledge about hypertension were not significantly associated with how participants obtained their medications. Conclusion: These Indonesian participants obtained their anti-hypertensive medications from various sources; however, the inadequate supplies found in this study could compromise both short- and long-term management of hypertension. Direct dispensing, non-doctor prescribing, and self-medication with anti-hypertensive medications indicate the current complex healthcare system in Indonesia. This study also shows some challenges involved in managing patients with chronic diseases such as hypertension in resource-poor settings. It provides important findings for quality improvement practices that should be considered to improve the health lifespan in populous countries such as Indonesia.
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