Purpose: The present study was carried out to investigate current prescribing and dispensing practices in the largest two teaching hospitals in Sudan and compare them with those of published studies in developing countries.
Methods: A descriptive, quantitative and cross-sectional study was conducted among hospital outpatients. The sample was selected using systematic random sampling. In each hospital, prescribing indicators were investigated through collection of data on 100 patient encounters, determination of consultation time and dispensing time for 100 patients, and by interview of 100 patients for the evaluation of dispensing practices.
Results: The present findings showed that 96% (95% CI: 92.0-98.1%) of patient encounters did not include one or more necessary elements. Strength of drug and the quantity to be dispensed were omitted in 57.5% (95% CI: 50.3-64.4%) and 91% (95% CI: 85.9-94.4%) of patient encounters, respectively. Other variables measured per patient encounter were mean (SD) number of drugs prescribed, 1.9 (0.9); percentage prescribed by generic name, 43.6 % (95% CI: 38.6-48.8%); percentage of patient encounters involving an antibiotic, 65.0% (95% CI: 57.9-71.5%); percentage of patient encounters with an injection prescribed, 10.5% (95% CI: 6.5-15.8%). The mean (SD) consultation and dispensing times were 4.5 (2.8) min and 46.3 (21.8) s, respectively. The percentages of dispensed drugs that were adequately labeled was 37.6% (95% CI: 33.1-41.8%), whilst adequate patient knowledge was demonstrated for 37.2% (95% CI: 32.3-42.0%) of drugs.
Conclusions: Cost-effective, multifaceted interventions are needed to improve current prescribing and dispensing practices at the teaching hospitals in Khartoum State, Sudan.