Availability and Utilization of Drug Information Center, Drugs and Therapeutic Committee and Standard Treatment Guidelines in the Management of HIV/AIDS Patients at Public Hospitals in a North-Central State, Nigeria
Introduction: Nigerian National Drug Policy has targets with regards to institutionalization of Drug Information Center (DIC), Drugs and Therapeutic Committee (DTC) and Standard Treatment Guidelines (STGs). Inadequate availability and utilization of these supporting policies/documents affect quality of healthcare.
Objective: This study examined the availability and utilization of DIC, DTC and STGs in the management of HIV/AIDS patients at public hospitals in a North-Central State, Nigeria.
Methods: This qualitative multi-center study involved in-depth interviews of eligible 10 prescribers and 7 dispensers who provided healthcare to HIV/AIDS patients in eligible public hospitals with the aid of structured interview guide. The interviews were audio-taped, verbally transcribed, analyzed and developed into ethnographic summary.
Results: Among the prescribers, STGs was the most available and utilized supporting policy/document. Less than 50% of the prescribers had DTC and DIC available in their institutions, less than 50% utilized DTC while only one prescriber utilized the available DIC. Only 10% of the prescribers had and utilized all three (STGs, DTC and DIC). Also, STGs was available to and utilized by all the dispensers. However, only 14.3% of the dispensers had DTC and DIC available in his institution and utilized them. Reasons for utilization/non-utilization of DIC, DTC, and STGs were awareness of availability, patient workload and documentation workload.
Conclusion: Availability and utilization of STGs are optimal. However, availability and utilization of DIC and DTC in the management of HIV/AIDS patients in Public Hospitals are below optimal. There is need for improved availability and institutional mechanisms to ensure their utilization.
Keywords: Availability, Utilization, Drug Information Center, Drugs and Therapeutic Committee Standard Treatment Guidelines, HIV/AIDS Patients
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