Availability and prescription practice of anti-malaria drugs in the private health sector in Yemen
Introduction: Although the government of Yemen changed the national policy for treating malaria in November 2005 from chloroquine to combination drugs in the form of artesunate + sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) as first line and lumefantrine + artemether as second line treatment for uncomplicated malaria, clinicians in public and private health facilities continued to prescribe chloroquine because their knowledge about the new treatment policy was poor.
Methodology: A non-randomized trial of pre- and post-evaluation of the training and reporting interventions about prescription behaviors and availability of anti-malaria drugs among clinicians and pharmacists in the private sector in three governorates in Yemen was conducted.
Results: Adherence of clinicians in the private sector to the new national guidelines for anti-malaria drugs improved from 21% in pre-intervention period to 38% after the intervention for artesunate + SP being prescribed as the first-line treatment. Prescription of lumefantrine + artemether as the second-line anti-malaria treatment was also improved from 18% before the intervention to 22% post-intervention. Unfortunately the combination of halofantrine + SP continued to be frequently prescribed by clinicians in Sana'a city (18%). Artesunate + SP and quinine are increasing their marketing significantly from 8% in the pre-intervention period to 22% post-intervention (P-value 0.001).
Conclusions: The study provides evidence of usefulness of the training intervention on the national guidelines for malaria treatment. Additionally, the involvement of private health-care providers in reporting procedures will promote the rational prescription and availability of anti-malaria drugs.
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