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Free Content Administrative practices of health professionals and use of artesunate–amodiaquine by community members for treating uncomplicated malaria in southern Ghana: implications for artemisinin‐based combination therapy deployment

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Objective  To investigate the use of artemisinin‐based combination and monotherapy by community members and the administrative practices of health professionals in treating malaria in Ghana.

Method  This study is a community‐based cross‐sectional survey in 11 rural and urban areas in southern Ghana. Using the interviewer method, close‐ended questionnaires were administered to community members. Similar questionnaires were also administered in health facilities, community pharmacies and licensed chemical shops.

Results  A total of 1085 individuals comprising 959 non‐health professionals and 126 health professionals were interviewed. Fifty‐seven per cent of the community members visit pharmacies/drug stores as the first point of call when they suspect malaria. According to the participating drug sellers, artemether–lumefantrine (AL) is the most prescribed/sold anti‐malarial drug (59.2%), followed by dihydroartemisinin (35%), sulfadoxine–pyrimethamine (33.0%) and artesunate‐amodiaquine (AS‐AQ) (27.2%). The majority of customers who visit pharmacies or drug stores without prescription have their anti‐malarial drug selected by the shop attendant; in situations like that, dihydroartemisinin and artesunate monotherapies are sold just as AS‐AQ and AL. Chloroquine is still sold by some drug vendors, 5 years after its proscription.

Conclusion  Whereas the use of AS‐AQ and AL are acceptable, the frequent use of dihydroartemisinin and artesunate monotherapy threatens the future of ACTs.
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Language: English

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1:  Parasitology Department, Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research, University of Ghana, Accra, Ghana 2:  Section of Environmental Parasitology, Tokyo Medical and Dental University, Tokyo, Japan 3:  Department of Parasitology, National Institute of Infectious Diseases, Tokyo, Japan

Publication date: October 1, 2011

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