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Over-the-counter suboptimal dispensing of antibiotics in Uganda

Authors Mukonzo JK, Namuwenge PM, Okure G, Mwesige B, Namusisi OK, Mukanga D

Received 27 May 2013

Accepted for publication 12 July 2013

Published 20 August 2013 Volume 2013:6 Pages 303—310


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 4

Jackson K Mukonzo,1,2 Proscovia M Namuwenge,1 Gildo Okure,3 Benjamin Mwesige,1 Olivia K Namusisi,4 David Mukanga4

1Center for Operational Research Africa, Kampala, Uganda; 2Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, 3School of Public Health, Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda; 4African Field Epidemiologist Network, Kampala, Uganda

Background: Overuse and misuse of antibiotics is a serious global problem. While resistance to older antibiotics is increasing, development of newer molecules has stalled. Resistance to the existing antibiotics that is largely driven by their high-volume use is a global public health problem. Uganda is one of the countries where prescription-only drugs, including antibiotics, can be obtained over the counter. We determined the rate of antibiotic dispensing and use in Uganda.
Methods: The study utilized a descriptive cross-sectional study design to determine the number of antibiotic "prescribed" daily doses per 1,000 clients. Data were collected from one health center II, eight general/district hospitals, one national referral hospital, and 62 registered community pharmacies. From each study site, data were collected for five consecutive days over the months of November 2011 to January 2012.
Results: The overall antibiotic issue rate was 43.2%. Amoxicillin, metronidazole, ciprofloxacin, sulfamethoxazole–trimethoprim, cloxacillin, and ampicillin, belonging to the WHO anatomical therapeutic chemical classifications of penicillin with extended spectra, imidazole derivatives, fluoroquinolones, and sulfonamide–trimethoprim combinations, constituted 70% of the issued antibiotics. About 41% of antibiotics were issued over the counter. At community pharmacies, where 30% of antibiotic dispensing occurred, the number of prescribed daily doses/1,000 antibiotic clients was 4,169 compared to 6,220, 7,350 and 7,500 at general/district hospitals, the national referral hospital, and the health center, respectively.
Conclusion: In Uganda, at least four in every ten individuals that visit a health-care facility are treated with an antibiotic. Antibiotics are largely given as over-the-counter drugs at community pharmacies. The number of antibiotic prescribed daily doses/1,000 antibiotic clients does not significantly differ between categories of health-care facilities except at community pharmacies, where lower doses are dispensed compared to other health-care facilities.

Keywords: antibiotic, over-the-counter dispensing, suboptimal dosing, Uganda

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