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80% children suffering from diarrhoea given antibiotics

CHANDIGARH: Though the government is spending a fortune on propagating the use of Oral Rehydration Salts (ORS) for children suffering from diarrhoea, doctors at government dispensaries in Punjab and Haryana are giving antibiotics, instead of ORS.



Mohit Khanna

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 8

Though the government is spending a fortune on propagating the use of Oral Rehydration Salts (ORS) for children suffering from diarrhoea, doctors at government dispensaries in Punjab and Haryana are giving antibiotics, instead of ORS.

“Drug prescription behaviour: A cross-sectional study in public health facilities in Punjab and Haryana” conducted by Jaya Prasad Tripathy, Pankaj Bahuguna, Shankar Prinja from the School of Public Health, PGIMER, shows that in 80 per cent cases, children suffering from diarrhoea were given antibiotics, instead of ORS.

The study was undertaken to describe the drug-prescribing patterns in two states through prescription auditing. A total of 1,609 prescriptions were analysed to find out how poor prescription practices result in increased side effects, adverse drug reactions and high cost of treatment.

Prinja said, “The worrying fact was that the children who were being given antibiotics were not even three-year-old. Technically, 90 per cent of children in this age-group should be given ORS only, and only in serious cases of dysentery, should the children be given antibiotics. Sadly, this procedure was not followed. The excessive use of antibiotics is not a healthy trend and could lead to side-effects among children.”

The study was carried out in 80 public health facilities across 12 districts in two states of Haryana and Punjab (six in each) covered all levels of care. The team collected the information from prescription slips of all patients who visited the pharmacy of the health facility.

He added that during the study, it was observed that the parents also pressed the doctor to prescribe antibiotics, instead of ORS, for their child.

The research team found that the parents had a general perception that the doctor who was giving antibiotic to their children, instead of ORS, was more effective.

While analysing the prescriptions of adults, it was found that on an average, 2.2 drugs were prescribed per patient.

Prinja said besides antibiotics, prescribing of vitamins was also observed to be relatively high.

Antibiotics were prescribed in 45.3 per cent of prescriptions, followed by vitamins (34.8 per cent) and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs 33.9 per cent.

The study has also showed that a majority of medicines prescribed by the doctors at dispensaries in Punjab and Haryana were from essential drug list (EDL), which the government provides it for free.

However, doctors working in government medical colleges in both states were not prescribing EDL medicines to the patients, which led to the rise of treatment expenditure.

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