Objectives To assess the effectiveness of a multi-component intervention on knowledge and reported practice amongst staff working in private pharmacies in Hanoi regarding four conditions: urethral discharge [sexually transmitted diseases (STD)], acute respiratory infection (ARI), and non-prescription requests for antibiotics and steroids.
Method Randomized controlled trial with staff working in 22 matched pair intervention and control private pharmacies who were administered a semistructured questionnaire on the four conditions before and 4 months after the interventions. The interventions focused on the four conditions and were in sequence (i) regulations enforcement; (ii) face-to-face education and (iii) peer influence. Outcome measures were knowledge and reported change in practice for correct management of tracer conditions.
Results The intervention/control-pairs (22 after drop-outs) were analysed pre- and post-intervention using the Wilcoxon signed rank test. STD: More drug sellers stated they would ask about the health of the partner (P = 0.03) and more said they would advise condom use (P = 0.01) and partner notification (P = 0.04). ARI: More drug sellers stated they would ask questions regarding fever (P = 0.01), fewer would give antibiotics (P = 0.02) and more would give traditional medicines (P = 0.03). Antibiotics request: Fewer said they would sell a few capsules of cefalexin without a prescription (P = 0.02). Steroid requests: No statistical difference was seen in the numbers who said they would sell steroids without a prescription as numbers declined in both intervention and control groups (P = 0.12).
Conclusion The three interventions in series over 17 months were effective in changing the knowledge and reported practice of drug sellers in Hanoi.