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Open Access Research article

A comprehensive situation assessment of injection practices in primary health care hospitals in Bangladesh

AK Azad Chowdhury1, Tapash Roy2, ABM Faroque1, Sitesh C Bachar1, Muhammad Asaduzzaman1, Nishat Nasrin1, Nahid Akter1, Hamidur Rahman Gazi1, Abul Kalam Lutful Kabir1, Masuma Parvin1 and Claire Anderson2*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Clinical Pharmacy & Pharmacology, University of Dhaka, Bangladesh

2 Division of Social Research in Medicine and Health, School of Pharmacy, University of Nottingham, UK

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BMC Public Health 2011, 11:779  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-11-779

Published: 10 October 2011

Abstract

Background

Understanding injection practices is crucial for evidence-based development of intervention initiatives. This study explored the extent of injection use and injection safety practices in primary care hospitals in Bangladesh.

Methods

The study employed both quantitative and qualitative research methods. The methods used were - a retrospective audit of prescriptions (n = 4320), focus group discussions (six with 43 participants), in-depth interviews (n = 38) with a range service providers, and systematic observation of the activities of injection providers (n = 120), waste handlers (n = 48) and hospital facilities (n = 24). Quantitative and qualitative data were assessed with statistical and thematic analysis, respectively, and then combined.

Results

As many as 78% of our study sample (n = 4230) received an injection. The most commonly prescribed injections (n = 3354) including antibiotics (78.3%), IV fluids (38.6%), analgesics/pain killers (29.4%), vitamins (26.7%), and anti-histamines (18.5%). Further, 43.7% (n = 1145) of the prescribed antibiotics (n = 2626) were given to treat diarrhea and 42.3% (n = 600) of IV fluids (n = 1295) were used to manage general weakness conditions. Nearly one-third (29.8%; n = 36/120) of injection providers reported needle-stick injuries in the last 6 months with highest incidences in Rajshahi division followed by Dhaka division. Disposal of injection needles, syringes and other materials was not done properly in 83.5% (n = 20/24) of the facilities. Health providers' safety concerns were not addressed properly; only 23% (n = 28/120) of the health providers and 4.2% (n = 2/48) of the waste handlers were fully immunized against Hepatitis B virus. Moreover, 73% (n = 87/120) of the injection providers and 90% (n = 43/48) of the waste handlers were not trained in injection safety practices and infection prevention. Qualitative data further confirmed that both providers and patients preferred injections, believing that they provide quick relief. The doctors' perceived injection use as their prescribing norm that enabled them to prove their professional credibility and to remain popular in a competitive health care market. Additionally, persistent pressure from hospital administration to use up injections before their expiry dates also influenced doctors to prescribe injections regardless of actual indications.

Conclusions

As far as the patients and providers' safety is concerned, this study demonstrated a need for further research exploring the dynamics of injection use and safety in Bangladesh. In a context where a high level of injection use and unsafe practices were reported, immediate prevention initiatives need to be operated through continued intervention efforts and health providers' training in primary care hospitals in Bangladesh.