By H. J. Bensted, W. Bulloch, L. Dudgeon, A. G. Gardner, E. D. W. Greig, D. Harvey, W. F. Harvey, T. J. Mackie, R. A. O'Brien, H. M. Perry, H. Scutze, P. Bruce White, W. J. Wilson. London, 1929. His Majesty's Stationery Office. Pp. 1–482
by A. Trevor Willis, M.D., B.S. (Melb.), Ph.D. (Leeds), M.C.Path., M.C.P.A., Reader in Microbiology, Monash University, formerly Lecturer in Bacteriology, University of Leeds. xiv + 234 pages, illustrated, second edition. Butterworth Inc., Washington. 1965. $8.50
Drug shops are the first point of care for most community members in low-resource countries. Because of symptomatic similarities with common illnesses such as malaria, probable coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases may seek care at drug shops, where the knowledge and skills required to handle it may be lacking, thereby fostering community spread of the disease. This single-arm study provided an intervention to improve COVID-19-related knowledge, attitude, and practices of patent medicine vendors (PMVs) in 97 participating drug shops selected through cluster sampling in Owerri, southeastern Nigeria. The intervention involved a drug shop sensitization using information, education, and communication material, as well as training on the use of a risk assessment checklist to identify probable COVID-19 cases and to take appropriate action. Data were collected to determine the effect of this intervention using a pre-tested questionnaire and practice observation checklist, first at baseline and then 3 months post-intervention. Data analysis involved exploratory analysis and the t-test to determine pre- and post-intervention mean score differences at the 5% α level. There was post-intervention knowledge improvement on the COVID-19 causative pathogen (98.1% post-intervention versus 61.9% pre-intervention) and disease transmissibility from person to person (95.9% post-intervention versus 81.4% pre-intervention) among other knowledge domains. There was significant post-intervention improvement for positive attitude, with a mean gain score of 2.8 ± 1.7 (t = 4.4, P = 0.005), and preventive practices, with a mean gain score of 6.0 ± 4.7 (t = 4.1, P = 0.007). Engaging patent medicine vendors in the pandemic response plans through targeted interventions such as drug shop intervention could prove vital in the fight against COVID-19.