Factors Affecting Accessibility of Pharmaceutical Services in Meru County, Kenya
Mbwiri, Fredrick Mutai
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A stable and reliable health system gives equal opportunities for all the citizens to receive basic medical requirements, drugs, high quality technologies, and well-being, effective and cost-effective use. Accessibility of pharmaceutical services requires patients to get the appropriate drug for their disease condition at the convenient place and at affordable price. Worldwide, pharmaceutical services are not available to patients in adequate amount as required. A pharmaceutical service involves procurement, transport, storage, distribution and dispensing of medical products at the convenient place, for the right condition and at affordable price. The study focused on assessing the factors influencing accessibility of pharmaceutical services in Meru County and anchored on the Role Theory model. The study’s specific objectives were to establish the effect of availability on the accessibility of pharmaceutical services in Meru County, to determine the influence of affordability on the accessibility of pharmaceutical services in Meru County, to investigate the effect of planning on the accessibility of pharmaceutical services in Meru County and to determine the effect of appropriateness on the accessibility of pharmaceutical services in Meru County. The study adopted descriptive survey design and quantitative in nature. Study population was all health professionals offering services in the county. There were 237 government health facilities in the county, whereby at least one health professional is offering health services i.e., prescribing and dispensing of drugs. A sample size is 237 health professionals’ i.e., medical doctors, pharmacists, clinical officers, pharmaceutical technologists and nurses. Sampling technique was purposive sampling. Raw data was collected by the use of the questionnaire. Data analysis was done using SPSS V25. Further the study conducted correlations and multiple regressions. Tables and figures were used in the presentation of the results. The study found and concluded that appropriateness, availability, planning and affordability had significant influence on the accessibility of pharmaceutical services. Further study found and concluded that the four factors studied were significant in the accessibility of pharmaceutical services where appropriateness of the pharmaceutical services was the highly significant (sig.000) followed by planning, availability and affordability. This study recommends that the managements should install an electronic system that records all the transactions within it so as to prevent the occurrence of placing the wrong orders and with the system it would be easier to match the needs of the seekers of the pharmaceutical services; the management should focus in the management of the inventory as it would be easier to control the stocking in and out. In addition, the study recommends that the hospitals should heed to the guidelines set by government and the ministry of health in regard to the pricing of the pharmaceutical supplies and this will enable clients to access the service irrespective of the economic class or status. Further, recommends that hospital procurement teams should understand the health demands of the community where the facility is located so as to protect them.