Availability of Essential Antihypertensive and Antidiabetic Medicines in Public Health Facilities in Lusaka District, Zambia
Background: The non-communicable disease (NCD) burden in Zambia remains quite high. Providing access to essential medicines for hypertension and diabetes remains a major challenge in low-middle income countries, Zambia is no exception in this regard.
Aim: The aim of this study was to determine and describe the availability of essential antihypertensive and antidiabetic medicines in selected public health facilities in Lusaka district.
Methods: A descriptive, cross-sectional study was undertaken in Lusaka district involving 15 randomly selected public health facilities. Data on availability of five (5) essential antihypertensive medicines and three (3)essential antidiabetic medicines was collected for the period January to June 2016 at each health facility, including the central Medical Stores. Quantitative data was analyzed using SPSS version 22.
Results: In the 15 public health facilities surveyed, overall availability of essential antihypertensive and antidiabetic medicines in public health facilities was 58.2% and 44.7% respectively during the period reviewed. Stock-outs were high for parenteral Frusemide (92%), Hydralazine (83%), Insulin shortacting (83%) and long acting (69%) preparations, respectively. Parenteral Frusemide and Hydralazine were only available in less than 40% of facilities while less than 40% of facilities did not have any Insulin preparations available. About 40% of facilities did not have a medical doctor present, 86.7% did not have a pharmacist and 80% did not have medical licentiates present. Majority of facilities had at least Nurses, Clinical Officers, Pharmacy Technologists and Pharmacy Assistants.
Conclusion: Availability of essential antihypertensive and antidiabetic medicines in
public health facilities in Lusaka district continues to be a challenge with less than 60% of facilities surveyed experiencing stock-outs over six months. This could be significantly affecting effective management of patients with hypertension and diabetes mellitus in the district and requires to be addressed.
Key words: Non-communicable diseases, medicines availability, hypertension, diabetes, Lusaka