Assessment of medicines use pattern using World Health Organization's Prescribing, Patient Care and Health facility indicators in selected health facilities in eastern Ethiopia

Arebu I. Bilal, Ebrahim D. Osman, Anwar Mulugeta Gebremichael

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16 Citations (Scopus)


Background: About one-third of the world's population lack access to essential medicines and this is further compounded by inappropriate prescription, dispensing, sale and use of the available medicines. The objective of the study was to assess the patterns of medicine use among health facilities in eastern Ethiopia using World Health Organization's Prescribing, Patient Care and Health facility indicators. Methods: A cross sectional study was carried out in eight randomly selected health centers and data were collected retrospectively as well as prospectively. Prescribing indicators were assessed retrospectively using 636 prescriptions selected by systematic random sampling technique among prescriptions filled between September 2013 and September 2014. Patient care indicators were assessed prospectively by interviewing 708 patients from the health facilities. Health facilities were assessed through observation. Data were entered and analyzed using Statistical Packages for Social Sciences version 20. P-value less than 0.05 at 95 % confidence interval considered for significance of relationships for associations in statistical tests. Results: The average number of medicines per prescription was 2.2 with standard deviation of 0.8. The proportion of medicines prescribed by generic name was 97 and 92 % of the prescribed medicines were included in List of Essential Medicines for Ethiopia, Prescriptions containing antibiotics and injections constituted (82.5 and 11.2 %) respectively. Of the total of 1426 medicines prescribed, 49.6 % were antibiotics, with amoxicillin (33.3 %) and co-trimoxazole (16.0 %) being the most commonly prescribed agents. The average consultation and dispensing times were 5.6 and 2.7 min, respectively. Among the medicines dispensed, 64.0 % were adequately labeled and the proportion of patients with adequate knowledge about medicines was 69 %. Conclusion: The prescribing and dispensing practices in the health facilities are fairly good and are not that far from the standard WHO requirements. However, there is a need to do more on some issues, including prescribing practice of antibiotics, average number of medicines per prescription, and patients' dosage form knowledge.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1414
JournalBMC Health Services Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 23 Apr 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Essential medicines list
  • Ethiopia
  • Health facility indicators
  • Patient care indicators
  • Prescribing indicators
  • World Health Organization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy

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