Medication prescribing practices of healthcare professionals in primary health centres in Niger State, Nigeria
The objective of this study was to assess medication prescribing practices of healthcare professionals in primary health centres in Niger State, Nigeria. The study was carried out across the three Senatorial Districts in the state, 1 Primary Healthcare Centre (PHC) per senatorial district (total, 3 PHCs). Drug prescribing patterns of healthcare workers, including medical officers, nurses, and community health officers were assessed. Data were analyzed using WHO’s drug use indicators, including average number of drugs per encounter, percentage of (drugs prescribed by generic name, encounter with an antibiotic prescribed, encounter with injection prescribed, and drug prescribed from the state’s essential drug list or formulary). A total of 1,440 encounters were reviewed, and the overall average number of drugs per encounter was 5.6 (range 1 to 12 drugs), and 73% of the overall encounters had between 4 and 7 prescribed drugs. 71% of the drugs were prescribed in generic names, while 82% were from the state essential drug list for primary healthcare centres. Antibiotics and injections were prescribed in 79% and 56% of encounter, respectively. Malaria/fever was the most frequently (56%) encountered medical condition, while the most frequently prescribed therapeutic class of drugs were antibiotics (24.7%), anti-malarial drugs (20.5%), analgesic/antipyretics (18.9%), vitamins/minerals (18.4%). Our study revealed inappropriate drug prescribing at the PHCs. We recommend interventions that would improve drug use practices at the primary care level; such interventions would positively impact on the quality of care received by patients at this level of healthcare.
Keywords: Healthcare professionals; Medication prescribing practices; Niger State; Primary healthcare; Rational use of drugs