Healthcare professionals' level of medication knowledge in Africa: A systematic review

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OBJECTIVE: Understanding how much healthcare professionals (HCPs) know about medication can help to devise strategies to improve rational medication use. This study aimed to synthesis information on the level of medication knowledge of HCPs in Africa.

METHOD: We performed a systematic literature study in Embase and PubMed. We included original studies quantifying HCPs' medication knowledge, published between 2012 and 2016. We extracted disease focus, country, number and type of HCPs included and all medication-related knowledge questions and scored the quality of papers. The outcome measure was the percentage HCPs who correctly answered medication knowledge questions.

RESULTS: We identified 64 studies from 12 African countries, comprising 13,911 HCPs, mostly nurses/midwifes and physicians. We extracted 306 medication-related knowledge questions, and only 52% (SD 28) of HCPs correctly answered them. Knowledge questions were mainly about medication prescribed for communicable diseases (70%), followed by non-communicable diseases (11%), and family Planning/Gynecology (10%). Most papers concluded that there was a considerable medication knowledge gap among HCPs.

CONCLUSION: We found a low level of medication knowledge across different disease areas, countries and HCPs. This underlines the continuous need to strengthen the undergraduate and postgraduate education in (clinical) pharmacology and therapeutics in Africa.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to) 2729-2746
JournalBritish Journal of Clinical Pharmacology
Issue number12
Early online date31-Aug-2018
Publication statusPublished - Dec-2018

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