Pharmacist-led smoking cessation services in resource limited settings: A cross-sectional and simulated study in Ethiopia

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Erku, DA
Mersha, AG
Belachew, SA
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Objectives With the rising interest in expanding the role of pharmacists in smoking cessation, a needs analysis to assess baseline knowledge about current smoking cessation practice is needed. The purpose of this study was to explore the knowledge and attitude of pharmacy students and practising pharmacists regarding smoking and smoking cessation in Ethiopia, as well as documenting smoking cessation supports delivered in community pharmacies in Ethiopia.

Methods This study utilised a cross-sectional and simulated patient (SP) methods. The questionnaire was administered to final year pharmacy students and practising pharmacists. Results from the surveys were presented and analysed using mean total scores, analysis of variances (ANOVA) and independent sample t-test. Two scenarios simulating tobacco use in pregnancy and cardiovascular patient were selected and played by two well trained SPs.

Results A total of 410 participants (213 pharmacy students; response rate 89.5% and 197 pharmacists; response rate 54.6%) completed the questionnaire. Both pharmacists and students had positive attitudes toward smoking cessation and both groups had similar mean knowledge scores. A total of 80 simulated visits were conducted. Nicotine replacement therapies (NRTs) were supplied in only 10 of the visits. NRTs were suggested but not dispensed in 35 of the visits. The majority of the pharmacists demonstrated poor history taking practice and seldom assessed the patients’ nicotine dependence level.

Conclusions Our study revealed the presence of major clinical knowledge gaps related to pharmacy-based smoking cessation services. Overall skills of community pharmacists were also inadequate. There is a need for modest changes in pharmacy school curriculum to provide more practical training and education on counselling and advising patients on smoking cessation and enhance pharmacists’ confidence of their perceived roles.

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Erku, DA; Mersha, AG; Belachew, SA, Pharmacist-led smoking cessation services in resource limited settings: A cross-sectional and simulated study in Ethiopia, Value in Health, 2018, 21, pp. S414-S415