Drug information in Zimbabwe: 1990-1999.
ABSTRACT To assess the utilisation and development of the Zimbabwe Drug And Toxicology Information Service (DATIS) SETTING: The national drug and poisons information centre in Harare, Zimbabwe.
A survey of records at the Zimbabwe national Drug and Toxicology Information Service (DaTIS) for the period January 1990 to December 1999 was conducted and compared to a previous review.
Average annual reporting rate, distribution of service users and report categories
The mean (SD) reporting rate was 142.9 (81.6) p.a. with an increasing trend. Most contacts came from the capital city (67%). Pharmacists (40%) predominated in requests for drug information (DI), which comprised about three-quarters of reports, whereas toxicological enquiries mostly came from physicians (49%). Therapeutic categories mentioned most in DI reports were systemic anti-infective (24%) and nervous system agents (20.4%). Pesticides (28%) predominated in toxicology requests followed by pharmaceuticals (21%), largely nervous system (36%) and antiparasitic agents (23%).
Compared to the previous decade, use of DaTIS had not grown significantly due to perceived resource constraints, lack of local political and institutional support and divided loyalty of staff. The drug and poison information components serves two distinct user populations with separate needs. Development plans for both DaTIS and other drug information services in Africa need to be realistic taking into account the resource constraints and local political and institutional support.