Salud Pública de México
Print version ISSN 0036-3634
RESENDEZ, Cristela; GARRIDO, Francisco and GOMEZ-DANTES, Octavio. Availability of essential drugs in Ministry of Health first level healthcare units in Tamaulipas, Mexico. Salud pública Méx [online]. 2000, vol.42, n.4, pp.298-308. ISSN 0036-3634. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0036-36342000000400004.
OBJECTIVE: To describe the availability of some essential drugs at the primary health care units of the Ministry of Health of Tamaulipas, Mexico. MATERIAL AND METHODS: Between September and October 1998, all first level healthcare units of Tamaulipas' three sanitary jurisdictions were surveyed. Drug availability was assessed. The measurement instrument was a checklist of 56 drugs and 10 different supplies. For each drug and input the absolute number and the proportion of units with this drug or input was calculated. In the units where the drugs were available, the medians were calculated. The median of the total number of drugs available in all units was used as a global indicator. This same exercise was developed for each unit. Comparisons between the availability of these inputs in the units and stockrooms were also done. Stata 5.0 was used for statistical analysis. RESULTS: None of the inspected units had full availability of all checklist drugs. The highest percentage of drug availability was 84% and the lowest was 32%. There was limited availability of antibiotics, antihypertensive, hypoglycemic, and iron deficiency drugs. The availability of oral rehydration salts and contraceptive and vaccine agents was acceptable. CONCLUSIONS: Healthcare organizations must find alternative ways to improve access to drugs nationwide, in general, and availability of essential drugs in first level healthcare units, in particular. Two recent initiatives provide an optimistic outlook: decentralization of health services for the uninsured and the Generic Exchangeable Drugs Program, established nationwide in 1998.
Keywords : essential drugs; availability; health centers; Mexico.