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Malaria Journal Publishes Vendor-to-Vendor Education Article

by Cynthia Young, Senior Writer


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The article, “Vendor-to-vendor education to improve malaria treatment by private drug outlets in Bungoma District, Kenya,” was published in the May 2003 issue of the online Malaria Journal.

The article covers the first phase of the Quality Assurance Project’s work with wholesale drug vendors and retail outlets in Kenya. It was written by Paula Tavrow, School of Public Health, University of California, Los Angeles; Jennifer Shabahang, Program Officer, Quality Assurance Project; and Sammy Makama, Bungoma District Health Management Team, Bungoma, Kenya. Dr. Tavrow led the activity as Deputy Director of Operations Research for QAP. 

“Malaria is still the leading cause of morbidity and death in many African countries.  Prompt and effective treatment for malaria can make an enormous difference for child survival and adult productivity,” explained Dr. Tavrow. 

For a large percentage of families in Africa, private outlets are the main suppliers of malaria treatment when their children are sick. However, these drug dispensers are so numerous that they are difficult for governments to regulate. The study evaluated a low-cost outreach education program to improve the private sector’s compliance with malaria guidelines in Bungoma District, Kenya. The district trained 73 wholesalers, who were equipped with job aids for distribution to small retailers, such as shops and kiosks, to help them follow government guidelines for malaria treatment.

The vendor-to-vendor study demonstrated that the low-cost intervention carried out by the Bungoma District Health Management Team (DHMT) significantly increased sales of the correct anti-malarial drugs to parents of sick children. The Quality Assurance Project later worked with the DHMT to refine the vendor-to-vendor intervention and to add a neighbor-to-neighbor intervention aimed at creating informed consumers, resulting in even better outcomes. The vendor-to-vendor program seems a feasible and low-cost district-level strategy for achieving significant improvements in knowledge and practices of private outlets.

The vendor-to-vendor program is now being scaled up in other districts in Kenya. QAP is currently working on the next phase of the project, which will test a new intervention targeting small pharmacies, as well as adapting the model in other districts and countries.

The Malaria Journal is a peer-reviewed online journal with open access. The article can be accessed online as a PDF at: http://www.malariajournal.com/content/2/1/10.

For more information on QAP’s work with the vendor-to-vendor education program, contact Waverly Rennie. 

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The Quality Assurance Project (QAP) is funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development
(USAID) under Contract Number GPH-C-00-02-00004-00.