Community pharmacists' views of the use of oral rehydration salt in Nigeria.
Oyetunde O., Williams V.
Background Oral rehydration salt (ORS) is an affordable and effective intervention for the management of acute watery diarrhoea (AWD), especially in children under 5 years. A knowledge/practice gap exists among community pharmacists (CPs) in Lagos, Nigeria, and in many low to middle income countries. This gap results in underutilization of ORS for diarrhoea management. Objective The objective was to explore CPs' views of the barriers and facilitators to the use of ORS in practice. Setting Community pharmacy practices, Lagos, Nigeria. Methods Qualitative methods were used to explore pharmacists' views. Recruitment of participants were mainly at zonal meetings. A total of ten CPs participated based on maximum variation and snowballing sampling. Semi-structured interviews conducted covered knowledge, experiences and contextual issues. Interviews were audiorecorded, transcribed and analysed using framework approach to thematic analysis. Main outcome measure Pharmacists' views of barriers and facilitators to the use of ORS. Results Barriers to the use of ORS include caregivers' expectation for an antimicrobial, which was often explicitly and specifically for metronidazole. Also, CPs seemed to doubt applicability of ORS alone, therefore, responded to caregivers' complaints about ORS, by dispensing metronidazole. These barriers appeared to have normalised metronidazole for AWD treatment in this setting. Current facilitators include the caregivers' improved awareness of ORS and access to primary health centers that often resulted in increased demand for ORS in pharmacies. Conclusion CPs' views showed that caregivers' expectations for an antimicrobial may be the main barrier to the use of ORS in their practices.