Prescription patterns of licensed chemical sellers shops in the management of uncomplicated malaria one year after the implementation of the national anti-malaria drug policy.

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Introduction: Malaria remains a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in pregnant women and children particularly in tropical Africa. Effective medicines and preventive measures are available. Globally, malaria control programme are threatened by the growing resistance of plasmodium falciparum to the conventional mono-therapy such as chloroquine, amodiaquine and sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine. However, these effective and relatively inexpensive medicines like Chloroquine have been rendered ineffective to the plasmodium falciparum parasite due to prescribers prescribing practices and other causes. This led to a policy change in the management of malaria. In 2005 the new anti-malaria policy was launched in the country with Artemisinin Combination Therapy for treatment of malaria. Aim: The aim of this study was to ascertain the knowledge level of Licensed Chemical Sellers (LCS) shops on the new anti-malaria drug policy on the management of malaria in Northern Ghana (Northern Region, Upper East and Upper West), one year after the introduction of the policy. Method: This research was a cross-sectional survey of Licensed Chemical Sellers (LCS) in the three northern regions of Ghana. Questionnaires were administered to a randomly selected Licensed Chemical Sellers in all the districts in the three northern regions (N/R, UE & UW). Result: The study revealed that although majority of LCS (76%) were aware of the new policy, a large majority (98%) of LCS shops were not knowledgeable about dosage, frequency of administration and duration of the new anti-malaria drug. For the reason for the change in policy 66% said Chloroquine was no longer effective and 34% were not sure of the reason. For prophylactic drug in pregnant women 51% will give Chloroquie as against 30% SP and 19% Daraprim. Conclusion: The treatment guidelines of Ghana Health Service (GHS) on malaria should be made available to all Licensed Chemical Sellers (LCS) to allow Pharmacy Council to monitor the implementation of the new anti-malaria drug policy at the facility level. KEY WORDS: Anti-malaria drug policy, Licensed Chemical Sellers, Artesunate combination-based therapy.
A Thesis submitted to the Department of Clinical and Social Pharmacy, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science