Drug seller adherence to clinical protocols with integrated management of malaria, pneumonia and diarrhoea at drug shops in Uganda
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Background: Drug shops are usually the first source of care for febrile children in Uganda although the quality of care they provide is known to be poor. Within a larger quasi-experimental study introducing the WHO/UNICEF recommended integrated community case management (iCCM) of malaria, pneumonia and diarrhoea intervention for community health workers in registered drug shops, the level of adherence to clinical protocols by drug sellers was determined.
Methods: All drug shops (N = 44) in the intervention area were included and all child visits (N = 7,667) from October 2011–June 2012 to the participating drug shops were analysed. Drug shops maintained a standard iCCM register where they recorded the children seen, their symptoms, diagnostic test performed, treatments given and actions taken. The proportion of children correctly assessed and treated was determined from the registers.
Results: Malaria management: 6,140 of 7,667 (80.1%) total visits to drug shops were of children with fever. 5986 (97.5%) children with fever received a malaria rapid diagnostic test (RDT) and the RDT positivity rate was 78% (95% CI 77–79). 4,961/5,307 (93.4%) children with a positive RDT received artemisinin combination therapy. Pneumonia management: after respiratory rate assessment of children with cough and fast/difficult breathing, 3,437 (44.8%) were categorized as “pneumonia”, 3,126 (91.0%) of whom received the recommended drug—amoxicillin. Diarrhoea management: 2,335 (30.5%) child visits were for diarrhoea with 2,068 (88.6%) correctly treated with oral rehydration salts and zinc sulphate. Dual/Triple classification: 2,387 (31.1%) children had both malaria and pneumonia and 664 (8.7%) were classified as having three illnesses. Over 90% of the children with dual or triple classification were treated appropriately. Meanwhile, 381 children were categorized as severely sick (with a danger sign) with 309 (81.1%) of them referred for appropriate management.
Conclusion: With the introduction of the iCCM intervention at drug shops in Eastern Uganda, it was possible to achieve high adherence to the treatment protocols, which is likely compatible with increased quality of care.