This study aimed at describing the trend in the use of antimalarials for the treatment of malaria in children under 5 years from year 2000 to 2006 in south-eastern Nigeria. Adherence to the 2005 National Antimalarial Treatment Policy was assessed. Quality of drug use was also evaluated. Quality indices studied were the use of international non-proprietary name (INN) in prescription, number antimalarials per episode and use of drugs from essential drug list.Methods
The study was retrospective and longitudinal, using data obtained from in-patients folders of children under 5 years, hospitalised for malaria infection in 11 secondary health care centres in south-eastern Nigeria.Results
The result of the study showed that chloroquine was mostly used for treating severe malaria in children less than 5 years despite the indication of a switch to quinine and parenteral artemisinins by the National Treatment Policy. Prescriptions of drugs were also not by INN names. However, many prescribers do not practice polypharmacy and most of the drugs used in secondary health care centres for treatment of severe malaria were in the essential drug list.Conclusion
There is a need for further studies to establish factors that affect the dissemination and use of treatment guidelines in Nigeria.