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Health SA Gesondheid (Online)

On-line version ISSN 2071-9736
Print version ISSN 1025-9848


AMIEN, Feroza; MYBURGH, Neil G.  and  BUTLER, Nadine. Location of community pharmacies and prevalence of oral conditions in the Western Cape Province. Health SA Gesondheid (Online) [online]. 2013, vol.18, n.1, pp.1-9. ISSN 2071-9736.

Community pharmacists are approached regularly for oral health advice; most commonly for ulcers which could be indicative of oral cancer, HIV, and various systemic diseases. Community pharmacists should know how to manage these conditions yet they have very limited training to manage these conditions appropriately. The area location and socioeconomic status (SES) of the pharmacy should be considered as it may influence patient management. A study of this nature has not yet been conducted in the Western Cape Province of South Africa. To determine the prevalence and frequency of oral complaints at community pharmacies and if these parameters differ by metropolitan location and SES. A cross-sectional survey of 162 randomly-selected private sector pharmacies was conducted. The sample (n = 121) was stratified by SES and metropolitan location. An open-ended structured questionnaire was faxed to pharmacists. A telephonic interview was conducted a day later. Community pharmacists were asked about the frequency and type of oral health problems they encountered. Most pharmacists (91%) dealt with oral health problems frequently, most commonly for ulcers (55.8%), thrush (49.2%), and toothache (33.3%). The results did not differ by metropolitan location and SES (Chi-squared, Fisher's Exact, p > 0.05), with the exception of toothache and mouth sores. Community pharmacists are an important part of an interdisciplinary team, and play a definite role in the early detection of oral health conditions, namely, caries, HIV and oral cancer. Training on common oral health conditions should be included in undergraduate pharmacy curricula and continuous professional development courses.

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