Factors influencing access to opioids for pain management in palliative care: a case of nyeri county, kenya

Eunice Wambui Gathitu., Ben Onyango Osuga., Susan Njuguna and Peter Kihara

Background: Access to essential medicines is fundamental to good performance of the healthcare system. Palliative care is a priority in many developing countries with the rising burden of non-communicable and chronic illnesses. However, access to opioids in palliative care has not been prioritized in Kenya. The study sought to establish factors that influence access to opioids for pain management in palliative care in Nyeri County in Kenya.

Method: A cross sectional study design with qualitative and quantitative approaches to data collection and data analyzed using Statistical Package for Social Scientists.

Results: Factors that were found to influence access to opioids positively and significantly were commodity management practices (r = .450**, P = .006), rational use of opioids (r = .409*, P = .013) and human resource practices (r = .620**, P<.001). There was no significant statistical evidence on the relationship between palliative care policy practices and access to opioids (r = .083, P = .632).

Conclusion: Human resource practice has the highest influence on access to opioids, followed by commodity management practices and rational use of opioids respectively. Hence the need to build both capacity and competencies of human resources to ensure access to opioids.

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