Awareness and knowledge of doctors, pharmacists and nurses on adverse drug reaction reporting systems in Namibia.
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Objective Reporting of adverse drug reactions (ADRs) in Namibian public health facilities is routinely done through safety yellow forms which are forwarded to the Therapeutics Information and Pharmacovigilance Centre (TIPC) for further assessment and possible interventions. This study investigated the awareness and knowledge of healthcare practitioners (HCPs) regarding the ADR reporting system in the country. Methods A cross-sectional study was conducted via a self-administered questionnaire at two state hospitals in Namibia; one located in the Khomas region and the other located in the Hardap region. The questionnaire was distributed to HCPs in current practice dealing directly with medication and it included a combination of open-ended, closed-ended and multiple-choice questions. Questionnaires were distributed in hard copy form during the period of 1 October 2019 up until 15 December 2019. Data was coded and transcribed into Microsoft® Excel® 2016 and analysed with SPSS® for IOS version 24. Results One-hundred and three completed questionnaires were received. Sixty-eight percent of the respondents were nurses, 24.3% were medical doctors and 7.8% were pharmacists. The majority of HCPs (73.8% and 56.3% respectively) were able to define the terms “adverse drug reaction” and “pharmacovigilance” correctly while only 41.7% correctly defined “spontaneous reporting”. The majority of HCPs (60.2%) have identified an ADR in practice; however only 36.9% reported this following the approved process. Only 48.5% of HCPs were aware of the safety yellow form for ADRs and 63.1% of HCPs did not know where to obtain the form. Furthermore only 37.9% of HCPs knew the name of the drug regulatory authority in Namibia. Conclusion Awareness and knowledge of ADR reporting systems by HCPs in Namibia is insufficient. While HCPs deem it necessary to report ADRs, reporting is unacceptably low leading to serious concerns regarding continuous monitoring of drug safety. Pharmacists showed better awareness compared to other HCPs and can, therefore, be best utilised as focal points in pharmacovigilance protraction. Mass awareness programs by the TIPC and other stakeholders need to be established to expand pharmacovigilance among HCPs.