An assessment of infant medication administration and storage practices in selected communities in the Vhembe District of Limpopo Province, South Africa
Background: Effective infant medication administration and storage is a major public health challenge outlined by the World Health Organization. These challenges may be exacerbated in rural or limited-resource areas.
Aim: The aim of this study was to investigate infant medication administration and storage practices.
Setting: This study took place in selected communities in the Vhembe District of Limpopo Province, South Africa.
Method: Data was collected through 39 semi-structured interviews with infant caretakers and rural health workers. Interviews were recorded when permission was given by participants. Interviews were transcribed and coded using grounded theory and Tesch’s model of data analysis. Themes were agreed upon through consensus discussions with the researchers and an independent coder.
Results: Six themes that affect current infant medication administration and storage practices
in the Vhembe District were identified: access to infant healthcare, the role of health workers,
the devices used in the administration of infant medication, reluctance of the infant to take the
medication, storage and reuse of infant medication in the rural home and hygiene practices
surrounding infant medication administration.
Conclusions: Many factors were found to affect infant medication administration and storage practices in in the Vhembe District. Substantial evidence was found to suggest that the relationship between rural health workers and infant caretakers strongly influences these practices: a great amount of reliance and trust is placed in the health worker. Ensuring proper dosage of infant medication in the rural household arose as a main concern of participants. Reuse of medication in the home and home hygiene practices surrounding infant medication administration are areas of potential future research. This future research may further inform recommendations for infant medication administration and storage practices in the Vhembe District.
The author(s) retain copyright on work published by AOSIS unless specified otherwise.
Licensing and publication rights
Author(s) of work published by AOSIS are required to grant AOSIS the unlimited rights to publish the definitive work in any format, language and medium, for any lawful purpose. AOSIS requires journal authors to publish their work in open access under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) licence.
The authors retain the non-exclusive right to do anything they wish with the published article(s), provided attribution is given to the applicable journal with details of the original publication, as set out in the official citation of the article published in the journal. The retained right specifically includes the right to post the article on the authors’ or their institution’s websites or in institutional repositories.
Previously published work may have been published under a different licence. We advise the community that if they would like to reuse the work to consult the applicable licence at article level.
Note: If you need to comply with your funding body policy, you can apply for the CC BY license after your manuscript is accepted for publication.