Knowledge of medicine outlets’ staff and their practices for prevention and management of malaria in Ghana
- 148 Downloads
Objective To obtain information about the staff resources available in licensed medicine outlets, assess their knowledge about malaria illness, current policy initiatives for malaria control, and the practices for prevention and management of malaria. Setting Hospitals/clinics and retail medicine outlets (community pharmacies and licensed chemical shops) from urban and rural areas in Southern and Northern Ghana. Method A cross section of medicine outlets (n = 121) in the two geographic and socio-economically diverse settings in Ghana were sampled. Data on staff resources, their knowledge about malaria, and current initiatives for malaria control were obtained through structured interviews. Staff practices for prevention and management of malaria were assessed through observation of their practice during counseling, selection, and dispensing of anti-malarial. Main outcome measures Professional status of staff in the outlets, the proportion of staff with adequate knowledge on malaria illness and the initiatives for malaria control; skills and practices for the recognition, prevention, and management of malaria. Results 56% of the staff (n = 269) were non-professionals, whereas 44% (n = 212) were professionals. The hospitals/clinics had more professional staff per outlet than the retail outlets. One hundred and fifty four staff members, including those in-charge of the outlets at the time of data collection (n = 121), and others recommended by the in-charges or outlet owners (n = 33) were assessed. Of these, 83% knew the mode of malaria transmission, 81% could advise clients on practices for malaria prevention, 88% recognized signs/symptoms of uncomplicated malaria, and 64% those of complicated malaria. Less than 40% had adequate knowledge about current initiatives for malarial control, and only 21% could manage malaria cases as recommended by national guidelines. Conclusion Most of the staff, particularly those in the retail outlets were not professionally trained. The staff assessed could recognize malaria illness and counsel clients on practices for disease prevention. The majority, however, lacked knowledge on the current initiatives for malaria control and the skills to manage malaria cases appropriately. In order to achieve public health objectives, interventions to strengthen skills and improve practices for malaria case management are needed. Training on current initiatives for malaria control should also be considered a priority.
KeywordsGhana Knowledge Malaria Medicine outlets Policy initiatives Practice skills
We thank Prof Kwame Sarpong of KNUST, the Chief Pharmacist and the Registrar of Pharmacy Council for their support of in this study. We also thank Kirsti Vainio (PhD) of the School of Pharmacy (Social Pharmacy), University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio, for her valuable inputs. Finally, we thank the chief executives and owners of all the medicine outlets who allowed us to use their facilities for the study.
The study was funded by the Elli Turunen fund of the Finnish Cultural Foundation and Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio.
Conflict of interest statement
- 2.Malaria operational plan-FY08 Ghana. President’s malaria initiative. 2007. http://www.fightingmalaria.gov/countries/ghana_mop-fy08.pdf. Accessed 12 Mar 2008.
- 3.Were W. Bringing malaria management closer to the home—roll back malaria, WHO. 2004. http://www.who.int/malaria/docs/Home_management_of_malaria2.pdf. Accessed 15 Sept 2007.
- 6.Adeya G, Tetteh G. Rational pharmaceutical management plus meeting of stakeholders to discuss the implementation plan for the new drug policy for malaria: trip report. 2004. http://pdf.usaid.gov/pdf_docs/PDACI119.pdf. Accessed 3 Aug 2009.
- 8.Roll Back Malaria Case Management Working Group. The role of medicine sellers in the management of malaria: what’s worked and where do we go from here? 2004. http://www.rbm.who.int/partnership/wg_management/docs/medsellersRBMmtgreport.pdf. Accessed 24 Feb 2008.
- 18.Dieleman M, Harnmeijer JW. Improving health worker performance: in search of promising practices. 2006. http://www.who.int/hrh/resources/improving_hw_performance.pdf. Accessed 14 Sept 2007.
- 20.Mbwasi R. Enhancing access to medicines through private and multi-sector initiatives: the Tanzanian experience. 2005. http://www.msh.org/seam/conference2005/pdf. Accessed 18 Nov 2007.
- 21.de Castro MC, Yamagata Y, Mtasiwa D, Tanner M, Utzinger J, Keiser J, et al. Integrated urban malaria control: a case study in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2004;71:103–17.Google Scholar