Prescription and Dispensing Practices in Public Sector Health Facilities in Pakistan: Survey Report
(2004; 5 pages)


Objectives: To gather information on existing prescription practices, dispensing practices and patient satisfaction in government health services of the NWFP, Baluchistan and Punjab province. Methods: A cross sectional study design was used for this purpose. Ten health care facilities were selected from each province keeping appropriate representation from first level health facilities, district health facilities and tertiary care hospital. Analysis of selected indicators was carried out on the basis of provinces, health facilities, gender and different age groups.

Results: Documentation of 914 responses was completed from three provinces. Almost equal distribution of encounters was maintained representing different health facilities. Forty seven percent of encounters involved children under 15 years of age. Female patients comprised of 56% and the mean age of the entire sample was 26 years. The mean dispensing time was only 38 seconds, the mean consultation time was 1.79 minutes andthe average number of drugs per prescription turned out to be 2.7 out of which only 1.6 drugs were being dispensed from the facility. More than half of the prescriptions contained antibiotics and 15% of patients wereprescribed with injectables. Only half of the patients expressed satisfaction with their visit to health facility.

Conclusions: Like many other developing countries, prescription and dispensing practices are not satisfactory in public sector health facilities of Pakistan. Appropriate and workable solutions need to be developed and implemented in the country to improve systems. Regular audits and qualitative studies should become part of the effort (JPMA 54:187;2004)

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