The use of standard treatment guidelines and essential medicines list by registered nurses at primary health care clinics in the uMgungundlovu district
Sooruth, Umritha Raj
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Background One of the major challenges for the Department of Health in South Africa today is inequity and the need to provide quality integrated health care for all its citizens. Primary Health Care (PHC) has been declared as the way to achieve this goal, through the District Health System. Standard Treatment Guidelines (STGs) and the Essential Medicines List (EML) have been developed and are used at PHC clinics and hospitals. This study explored the use of STGs and the EML by professional nurses at PHC clinics in the UMgungundlovu District, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Methods A quantitative descriptive research design was used. Questionnaires were used to collect data from respondents at the PHC clinics. A retrospective review of facility registers kept by the respondents on the rational use of drugs was also carried out by the researcher. Results The findings of the study revealed that the respondents had a good understanding of the use of the STGs and the EML. There was no evidence of polypharmacy, and medications were prescribed according to guidelines. Areas that were suboptimal were related to prescription writing in writing of schedules and routes of medication as indicated in facility records. The results further showed that training on the use of the STGs and EML were inadequate, which implies the need for strengthening of training programmes.