Experiences, use and preferences for medicine information among the general public in Kampala district.
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Background: The Joint FIP/WHO guidelines on good pharmacy practice states that patients and the public should receive sufficient written and verbal information or advice on medicines consumed(F. WHO, 2010). No studies from Uganda had assessed the quality and availability of written medicine information (WMI) provided with medicines to the public. Additionally, little or no research on the views of patients or the public, what sources of information they access and use was found. Lack of knowledge about medicines, their effects, and inappropriate use may lead to suboptimal patient outcomes. Therefore, the study sought to determine the experiences of the general public in Kampala on receiving and using information about medicines, the acceptability of any written information about medicines available to them, plus their views on and needs for different medicine information sources. Methods: A cross-sectional survey design was used to collect data from a sample of 76 drug outlets and among 694 of their care-seekers in Kampala District. A sample of drug outlets was obtained by cluster random sampling techniques while the care-seekers were sampled by convenience method. At each select3ed drug outlet, participants were interviewed using a pretested electronic questionnaire. Quantitative data derived from the survey was extracted from kobo toolbox server in an Excel format and imported into STATA version 14 for cleaning and analysis (StataCorp., 2015). Qualitative data was transcribed verbatim using Microsoft word (Bailey, 2008). Results: The findings of the study revealed that 694 observations from care-seekers at participating medicine outlets were received, and of these, 48.7% were male and majority (80.5%) had secondary level of education and above. Over 90% were regular medicine users and had received medicine information, 43% preferred verbal medicine information while (41%) preferred both written and verbal medicine information. Healthcare Practitioners (HCPs) were the most utilized and trusted sources of medicine information while the websites, medicine information centres and the media were the least utilized sources. Conclusions: A high proportion of medicine users have access to medicine information. Verbal medicine information from health care practitioners and dispensing labels were preferred and easily understood, patient information leaflets and manufacturers’ websites appeared to be more trusted by the population while social media, was the least trusted source. Factors influencing access to the medicine information included respondent’s level of education and employment status.
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