This manual includes six sections that describe the selected indicators and detail the methods for their collection and analysis. These sections are:
1 Overview of the categories of indicators, and the basic features of a drug use study using selected indicators.
2 Definitions and methods of each of the core indicators, and details of their calculation with examples.
3 Description of some important issues in study design and sampling, and of procedures for drawing the required samples of health facilities and clinical encounters.
4 Issues related to study planning and field methods when carrying out the basic indicators study.
5 Suggestions for analysis and reporting of results, including a summary of experience in using the drug use indicators.
6 Suggestions for follow-up activities after a drug use study has been completed.
The methods used to collect data for the indicators strongly affect the validity of results. For this reason the manual includes detailed descriptions of sampling and data collection methods. In addition to the material in the main text, there are a series of annexes which contain more detail on sampling methods, the use of indicators for monitoring, and complementary indicators, as well as copies of all the necessary data collecting forms. Review of these annexes is not necessary before undertaking and analyzing a drug use study with indicators. The statistical background to the methodology of sampling and sample size has been published in a separate document which is available from the WHO Action Programme on Essential Drugs.
The indicators have been developed specifically so that all required data can be analyzed manually. However, to assist those with access to a computer, the formulas given in Chapter 5 can easily be used to design a simple spreadsheet. Moreover, two software tools have been developed to facilitate data analysis and presentation. One programme consists of a coordinated set of spreadsheets and macros intended for recording and analyzing the indicators. The other programme is a data-base that can facilitate entry, analysis and standard reporting of data from prescribing encounters, while preserving detail about specific health problems and drugs*.
* More information on these programmes is available from INRUD, Management Sciences for Health, 165 Allandale Road, Boston, MA 02130, USA