"Few in Number, Great in Worth..." - A Nicaraguan Approach to Rational Drug Use. Essential Drugs Monitor No. 014 (1993)
(1993; 2 pages)


A joint study conducted in1987 by a Ministry of Health regional management team and an NGO found inadequate patient care, irrational use of drugs, poor health professional training, and lack of reference resources throughout the Matagalpa region of Nicaragua. To combat these problems, Nicaragua prioritized the development of a practically oriented training and reference material for health professionals. A group of health care workers created a booklet that was field tested in 1989 and ultimately revised and expanded to a national handbook, Buscando Remedio. The handbook is illustrated and can serve as a training and reference guide for local health care workers throughout Nicaragua. The handbook warns against over prescription practices and stresses that the best medicine is prevention. Health and development NGOs in other Latin American countries have also found the handbook beneficial to use. New training programmes have been started throughout Nicaragua to improve primary health care. A trial programme was conducted in the Matagalpa region in 1992 using Educational Handbook for Health Personnel and Helping Health Workers to Learn. The trial evaluation was based on an individual’s ability to respond to a health problem and willingness to consult reference materials. This experiment is now being mirrored in other countries in an attempt to refocus the training of health care professionals throughout Latin America. (Abstract by Flannery Bowman, 2013)

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