Drug Information for Patients in the Community. Essential Drugs Monitor No. 012 (1991)
(1991; 2 pages)


A study done in the Mashonaland West Province of Zimbabwe aimed to investigate the extent to which patients received information, the source of information and the type of information pursued on their own initiative. The article mentions other studies that show patients fail to follow drug regimens due to a lack of information from doctors, and that compliance is higher when the patients have knowledge of their condition and treatment. Systematic cluster sampling was used to study 910 households in urban, rural and commercial farming areas. Each head of household was given a standardized questionnaire that asked about common disease knowledge, health-seeking behaviour, medication taken, the type and source of medication, and the type of information given by health workers. Notable results were that 80% of rural participants did not trust their health provider and asked no questions, and 60% of urban participants had some awareness of various medicines. The researchers therefore concluded that detailed drug information should be personalized depending on a patient’s needs. Furthermore, health workers must be aware of what the patient thinks caused the illness, as many patients still believe in supernatural causes which affects their willingness to comply. The researchers concluded that a conversation between the practitioner and patient is necessary to reach a mutual understanding and determine the best treatment plan for each individual.

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