This manual is a practical guide to the use of research methods for investigating medicines use by consumers, particularly those in developing countries, in order to identify problems, design interventions and measure changes. It will help health workers, policy-makers, administrators, researchers, educationalists, medical and pharmacy students, and many others to go beyond the individual and to study the community as a focus. By understanding why people take medicines as they do, it is possible to design interventions that are sensitive to the particular beliefs, practices and needs of their community.
Topics covered include the reasons for studying medicines use by consumers, what influences consumer choice, and how to prioritize and analyse community medicines use problems. There are chapters on sampling and data analysis, and the manual concludes by looking at the important issues of monitoring and evaluating interventions.
The publication is an update of the manual developed by WHO's Essential Drugs and Medicines Policy Department, How to investigate drug use in communities - Guidelines for social science research. It also builds on session notes developed for the international training course, Promoting Rational Drug Use in the Community, jointly organized by WHO and the University of Amsterdam.