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Free Content Access to asthma medicines at the household level in eight counties of Kenya

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BACKGROUND: It is estimated that about 4 million Kenyans, i.e., 10% of the country's population, have asthma. We aimed to evaluate access to asthma medicines at the household level in eight counties of Kenya, including factors associated with location of purchase.

METHODS: Individuals with a diagnosis and prescription of asthma medicines were asked about the location of diagnosis, purchase of medicines, availability of medicines at home and costs of medicines per month. A logistic regression model explored the relationship between patient characteristics and the probability that the patient purchased asthma medicines at a public facility.

RESULTS: Of 128 (15.2%) individuals with a diagnosis of asthma who were receiving treatment, only 57.0% had asthma medicines at home. The most frequently purchased asthma medicine was salbutamol, with one third of individuals taking it orally instead of by inhalation. The majority (55.4%) purchased asthma medicines at private pharmacies. Female patients and lower socio-economic status were predictors of purchasing asthma medicines at public facilities.

CONCLUSIONS: The availability and affordability of asthma medicines remain significant barriers to access to care. Improving the availability and affordability of all asthma medicines in the public sector, including inhaled corticosteroids, offers the opportunity to reach vulnerable populations.
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Keywords: Kenya; access; asthma; household survey; medicines

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: *Department of Global Health, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts, USA 2: School of Public Health, Faculty of Community and Health Sciences, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa, *Department of Global Health, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Publication date: May 1, 2018

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  • The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease publishes articles on all aspects of lung health, including public health-related issues such as training programmes, cost-benefit analysis, legislation, epidemiology, intervention studies and health systems research. The IJTLD is dedicated to the continuing education of physicians and health personnel and the dissemination of information on tuberculosis and lung health world-wide.

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