Children's access to medicines

Alkahtani, Saad Ahmed (2013) Children's access to medicines. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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Access to health care for children is important. It is dependent on access to health professionals and also parental attitudes towards illness.

Children have the right to receive medicines that are scientifically evaluated for both efficacy and safety. Counterfeit and substandard medicines unfortunately result in the death of many children worldwide. There have been particular problems with diethylene glycol which has been used as a solvent in counterfeit medicines. It has also been found in contaminated substandard medicines. It has been responsible for the death of many children in different countries throughout the world. I performed a literature review of all cases of diethylene glycol poisoning that have been published. I have described the clinical signs and symptoms and hope that these findings increase the awareness of diethylene glycol poisoning in children.

It is well known that there are clear inequalities in health and access to health care in the UK. This inequity has been particularly noticed amongst certain minority groups. Children of “at risk” groups, such as Asylum Seekers and Refugees, and Gypsies and Travellers, were recognised as having possible barriers in accessing health care and medicines.

I conducted a study to explore children’s access to medicines in the East Midlands area in the UK. Alongside determining accessibility to health care the study also wished to explore parental attitudes towards receiving treatment for pain, asthma and epilepsy

Both quantitative and qualitative research methodology was used in this study. The research data was gathered with the aid of semi-structured interviews with parents from the “at risk” groups and control parents. Fifty parents from each group were selected and interviewed regarding their children‟s health and their access to health care and medicines. The semi-structured interviews allowed participating parents to state their opinions about any barriers they had encountered to their children receiving medicines.

Parents from both “at risk” groups and children from the Traveller group had more health problems than the controls. The attitude of some Gypsy and Traveller parents (11%) not to immunise their children was a significant problem. One in six Refugee parents reported difficulties while obtaining medicines. The two main barriers were language/communication problems and financial difficulties. Both Refugee and Traveller children received fewer OTC medicines than the children of the control group. It was not clear from the interviews whether this was due to financial difficulties or reluctance to use medicines without a doctor having seen the child first.

Parents from both “at risk” groups were less likely to give analgesics for treating earache than those in the control group. Parents of Refugee children were more reluctant to tell others about their child’s epilepsy.

Access to health care is an essential human right. Children are dependent upon both their parents and the health system for ensuring access to health care. This study has identified problems both within the system and also in relation to parental beliefs that may affect the access to health care and treatment for children. It is important that both of these potential barriers are addressed in order to improve the health of children of “at risk” groups. It is hopeful that the findings in this study will help to identify ways of improving access to health care and medicines for these groups.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Choonara, I.A.
Sammons, H.
Subjects: W Medicine and related subjects (NLM Classification) > WS Pediatrics
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > School of Medicine
UK Campuses > Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > School of Graduate Entry Medicine and Health
Item ID: 13425
Depositing User: EP, Services
Date Deposited: 27 Feb 2014 07:49
Last Modified: 15 Dec 2017 09:50

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