Monday, 19 November 2012

Rural health centres overprescribe antibiotics, corticosteroids and injections

The findings from a study carried out in rural township health centres in Sichuan has demonstrated irrational medication uses of antibiotics, glucocorticoids and injections prescribed for outpatients. The reasons for irrational medication uses are not only solely due to the pursuit of maximizing benefits in the township health centers, but also more likely attributable to the lack of medical knowledge of rational medication uses among rural doctors and the lack of medical devices for disease diagnosis in those township health centers.
A total of 3,059 prescriptions from 30 township health centers in Sichuan Province were collected and analyzed.
The average medication cost per encounter was 16.30 Yuan ($2.59). About 60% of the prescriptions contained Chinese patent medicine (CPM), and almost all prescriptions (98.07%) contained western medicine. 85% of the prescriptions contained antibiotics, of which, 25% contained two or more types of antibiotics; the percentage of prescriptions with glucocorticoids was 20%; the percentage of prescriptions with both glucocorticoids and antibiotics was 17%; 51% of the prescriptions included injections, of which, 40% included two or more injections.
"The policy implication from this study is to enhance professional training in rational medication uses for rural doctors, improve hardware facilities for township health centers, promote health education to rural residents and establish a public reporting system to monitor prescription practices in rural township health centers," the study concludes.

Read more: BMC Health Services

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