The purpose of this study was to investigate the quality of a select group of medicines sold in accredited drug dispensing outlets (ADDOs) and pharmacies in different regions of Tanzania as part of an in-depth cross-sectional assessment of community access to medicines and community use of medicines. We collected 242 samples of amoxicillin trihydrate, artemether-lumefantrine (ALu), co-trimoxazole, ergometrine maleate, paracetamol, and quinine from selected ADDOs and pharmacies in Mbeya, Morogoro, Singida, and Tanga regions. The analysis included physical examination and testing with validated analytical techniques. The physical examination of samples revealed no defects in the solid and oral liquid dosage forms, but unusual discoloration in an injectable solution, ergometrine maleate. Over 90% of the medicines sold in ADDOs and pharmacies met quality standards. Policy makers need to reconsider ergometrine maleate’s place on the list of medicines that ADDOs are allowed to dispense, by either substituting a more temperature-stable therapeutically equivalent product or requiring those sites to have refrigerators, which is not a feasible option for rural Tanzania.

In 2003, the government  of Tanzania introduced the accredited drug dispensing outlet (ADDO) program to improve access to good-quality medicines in rural and peri-urban areas that have frequent drug shortages in public health facilities and few or no registered pharmacies. However, increasing access may also contribute to antimicrobial resistance (AMR) due to the potential overuse and misuse of drugs. We conducted a cross-sectional household survey in four regions in mainland Tanzania to characterize consumer care-seeking habits and medicines use and to determine the extent to which members of the community are knowledgeable about antimicrobials and AMR. We revealed that communities in the four regions have low levels of knowledge of the concepts of antimicrobials and their use and AMR. Level of public understanding rose with wealth status and education. Only one-third of 1,200 respondents (33.6%) had ever heard of a medicine called an antimicrobial, and 5–15% could name at least one antimicrobial spontaneously. Some thought other medicines, such as paracetamol, were antimicrobial (7.5%). People were equally likely to agree that pneumonia should be treated with an antimicrobial (21.4%) as well as common cold (28.4%). Understanding of AMR risks was better, particularly related to HIV and AIDS (32.2%) and malaria (38.6%)—most likely due to information campaigns focused on those two diseases. The level of knowledge decreased the further away respondents lived from an ADDO and where ADDO density was lower, which supports the use of ADDO dispensers as sources of community information and change agents for more appropriate medicine use. Lack of knowledge about antimicrobials and AMR in Tanzanian communities needs to be addressed through multi-pronged strategies that focus on prescribers and the public— especially those who are poorer and less educated.

A cross-sectional survey was performed in 24 systems of care providing antiretroviral medications in Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda to examine current practices in monitoring rates of treatment adherence and defaulting. Only 20 of 48 facilities reported routinely measuring individual patient adherence levels; only 12 measured rates of adherence for the clinic population. The rules for determining which patients were included in the calculation of rates were unclear. Fourteen different definitions of treatment defaulting were in use. Facilities routinely gather potentially useful data, but the frequency of doing so varied widely. Individual and program treatment adherence and defaulting are not routinely monitored; when done, the operational definitions and methods varied widely, making comparisons across programs unreliable. There is a pressing need to determine which measures are the most feasible and reliable to collect, the most useful for clinical counseling, and most informative for program management.

In 2003, we worked with Tanzania’s Ministry of Health and Social Welfare to develop a public-private partnership based on a holistic approach that builds the capacity of owners, dispensers, and institutions that regulate, own, or work in retail drug shops. For shop owners and dispensers, this was achieved by combining training, business incentives, supervision, and regulatory enforcement with efforts to increase client demand for and expectations of quality products and services. The accredited drug dispensing outlet (ADDO) program has proven to be scalable, sustainable, and transferable: Tanzania has rolled out the program nationwide; the ADDO program has been institutionalized as part of the country’s health system; shops are profitable and meeting consumer demands; and the ADDO model has been adapted and implemented in Uganda and Liberia.

People in low-income countries purchase a high proportion of antimicrobials from retail drug shops, both with and without a prescription. Tanzania's accredited drug dispensing outlet (ADDO) program includes dispenser training, enforcement of standards, and the legal right to sell selected antimicrobials. We assessed the role of ADDOs in facilitating access to antimicrobials.

Tanzania introduced the accredited drug dispensing outlet (ADDO) program more than a decade ago. Previous evaluations have generally shown that ADDOs meet defined standards of practice better than non-accredited outlets. However, ADDOs still face challenges with overuse of antibiotics for acute respiratory infections (ARI) and simple diarrhea, which contributes to the emergence of drug resistance. This study aimed to explore the attitudes of ADDO owners and dispensers toward antibiotic dispensing and to learn how accreditation has influenced their dispensing behavior.

A public-private partnership in Tanzania launched the accredited drug dispensing outlet (ADDO) program to improve access to quality medicines and pharmaceutical services in rural areas. ADDO dispensers play a potentially important role in promoting the rational use of antimicrobials, which helps control antimicrobial resistance (AMR). The study objectives were to 1) improve dispensing practices of antimicrobials, 2) build ADDO dispensers' awareness of the consequences of misusing antimicrobials, and 3) educate consumers on the correct use of antimicrobials through the use of printed materials and counseling.The percentage of ADDO dispensers following good dispensing practices increased from an average of 67% in the first monitoring visit to an average of 91% during the last visit. After the intervention, more dispensers could name more factors contributing to AMR and negative consequences of inappropriate antimicrobial use, and over 95% of ADDO customers knew important information about the medicines they were dispensed. Conclusions: Providing educational materials and equipping ADDO dispensers with knowledge and tools helps significantly improve community medicine use and possibly reduces AMR. The number of community members who learned about AMR from ADDO dispensers indicates that they are an important source of information on medicine use.

This article assessed private sector accredited drug dispensing outlets in Morogoro and pharmacies in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, to determine (1) the level of knowledge about tuberculosis (TB) among dispensers in Tanzania's retail pharmaceutical sector; (2) practices related to identification of patients with suspected TB; (3) the availability of educational materials and training; and (4) the availability of first- and second-line anti-tuberculosis treatment in retail drug outlets. Private retail drug outlets are convenient; most are open at least 12 h per day, 7 days/week. Although 95% of dispensers identified persistent cough as a symptom of TB, only 1% had received TB-related training in the previous 3 years; 8% of outlets stocked first-line anti-tuberculosis medicines, which are legally prohibited from being sold at retail outlets. The majority of respondents reported seeing clients with TB-like symptoms, and of these 95% reported frequently referring clients to nearby health facilities. Private retail pharmaceutical outlets can potentially contribute to TB case detection and treatment; however, a coordinated effort is needed to train dispensers and implement appropriate referral procedures.

Lessons learned from treating patients with HIV infection can inform care systems for other chronic conditions. For antiretroviral treatment, attending appointments on time correlates with medication adherence; however, HIV clinics in East Africa, where attendance rates vary widely, rarely include systems to schedule appointments or to track missed appointments or patient follow-up.

Rationale, aims, and objectives: For a successful patient outcome, a high level of adherence to antiretroviral therapy (ART) is needed. A 2008 report in Tanzania indicated poor clinic attendance and a high lost to follow-up rate as major threats to optimal ART program effectiveness.


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