The study aims to provide insights into the availability of common drugs with respect to disease load, regarding three common childhood diseases, acute respiratory infection (ARI), diarrhoea and malaria. The study flags an important issue regarding the level of expertise of the present system to address humanitarian logistics in case of emergency.
A mixed‐method approach using both qualitative and quantitative study techniques was used to collect data. Hospital level data were collected from randomly selected primary health centers and community health centers. a cohort of three community health centers and nine primary health centers were selected for the study. The data collected were both on disease load and availability of drugs during the study period (2009‐2012), using a retrospective cohort. Expert interviews were conducted of practising medical practitioners on classification of drugs into Vital, Essential and Desirable categories.
Results show that the month of September represents the highest morbidity (case loads of all three diseases taken together). Acute respiratory infection is most prevalent among the three diseases, with total case loads of 1,539 cases during the month of September (during 2009‐2012). However the Vital and Essential drugs availability for acute respiratory infection was found to be 7 per cent, 57 per cent for malaria and 98 per cent for diarrhoea. Drug supply was not only inadequate but also uneven and erratic, having weak correlation with the pattern of disease morbidity.
Cases who attended the government‐owned health centres were only considered for the study and it did not consider those who were attended by private practitioners. The study did highlight the capability of the system to manage ongoing health supplies and the extent of vulnerability it can pose in case of any humanitarian crisis but the latter remains outside the scope of the present study.
The study adds to the existing body of literature by demonstrating the gap that exists in availability of drugs against requirement, for common childhood illness. The study provides health policy makers with a useful guide to establish drugs requirement based on disease load, which holds policy implications across other low and middle income countries as well.
Mohanty, A. and Chakravarty, N. (2013), "An epidemiological study of common drugs in the health supply chain: Where does the compass point?", Journal of Humanitarian Logistics and Supply Chain Management, Vol. 3 No. 1, pp. 52-64. https://doi.org/10.1108/20426741311328510Download as .RIS
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited