Prescribing for Patients Seeking Maternal and Child Healthcare in Sierra Leone: A Multiregional Retrospective Cross-Sectional Assessments of Prescribing Pattern Using WHO Drug Use Indicators.

Informa UK Limited
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Risk management and healthcare policy, 2020, 13, pp. 2525-2534
Issue Date:
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Purpose:Rational use of medicines is a necessary constrict towards increasing access for those that desperately need them in society. In this study, we assess medicines prescribing patterns in healthcare facilities implementing free healthcare policy for pregnant women, lactating mothers and children under the age of five in Sierra Leone. Materials and Methods:Using WHO drug use indicators, we evaluated prescription records from the pharmacies of four hospitals; one from each of the four regions in Sierra Leone. To study prescribing indicators, we systematically sampled 1200 prescriptions overall (300/hospital) retrospectively spanning a year, from June 2017 to July 2018. In evaluating patients care indicators, we randomly sampled 120 (30/hospital) patients encounter prospectively. We used MS Excel 2016 and IMB SPSS in data analysis, and p< 0.05 was considered significant for associational analysis. Results:The average drug per prescription was 3.6 (SD=1.3) overall, 3.5 (1.3) for children under five and 3.4 (1.4) for pregnant women/lactating mothers. Eighty-seven percent of prescriptions for under-five children contains antibiotics as opposed to 68.4% of prescriptions for pregnant women/lactating mothers. More injections were prescribed per encounter for pregnant women/lactating mothers 23.2% than for children under five 18.1%. Overall, generic prescribing and prescribing from the National Essential Medicines List were 74.9% and 73.8%, respectively. None of the studied health facilities dispensed all of the prescribed medicines. The most prescribed pharmacological class of drugs were antibiotics, and paracetamol was the most commonly prescribed drug. Conclusion:Following WHO drug use indicators used in this study, drugs were irrationally prescribed within government hospitals providing free healthcare in Sierra Leone. Sustainability of the free healthcare scheme will require efficient medicine supply and management strategies. Therefore, the formulation of stewardship programs and/or an active Drug and Therapeutics Committee may be necessary to optimise drug use in these hospitals.
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