Physicians’ Compliance with the Palestinian Essential Drug List in Primary Health Care in Gaza Strip

Rasha Mohamed Fattouh
رشا محمد فتوح
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Al-Quds University
The presence of Essential Drugs List is considered very important component in any national drug policy, and its implementation helps in rationalization of drug use. The Palestinian EDL, was developed on March 1st 2000, and since then, there wasn’t any evaluation for its implementation and use, which is widely considered the most important step after its development. This study aims to evaluate the compliance of the Gaza Strip physicians with the Palestinian EDL in the governmental PHC clinics, and assesses the physician knowledge, attitudes, and prescribing practices regarding the essential drugs. The study was conducted in all the governmental PHC clinics in the Gaza Strip. A descriptive cross sectional design using triangulation of data was utilized. The sample included all the PHC physicians who were working in the governmental PHC clinics in the five governorates of Gaza Strip, who completed self administered questionnaire. Additionally, a retrospective multistage sample consists of 1656 prescriptions, 36 prescriptions from each of the 46 clinics were taken and examined in reference to the study indicators. The response rate was 87.68% and the study showed that, only 2.8% of the respondents were involved in the preparation of the EDL, 34.4% of the respondents attended training courses on EDL, 67.4% of the respondents reported currently using the EDL, and 51.2% of the respondents faced many problems in using the EDL. More importantly, the study showed that, the average number of drugs prescribed per each prescription was 1.92; the percentage of drugs prescribed from the EDL was 97.85 %, the percentage of drugs prescribed by generic names was 5.47%, the availability of a copy of PNF in the surveyed clinics was 28.3%, and the availability of key drugs was 82.6%. The study concluded that, there are a number of problems regarding the physicians compliance with the EDL, and considering the study results, the researcher provided some recommendations such as, provision of training, strengthening monitoring, evaluation and follow up, updating of the first EDL and promoting the lines of communications between policy makers and physicians.