BACKGROUND: Pesticides are responsible for a significant percentage of deaths globally with majority occurring in sub-Saharan Africa. Deaths due to pesticide poisoning can be reduced if poisoning cases are managed optimally. However, the quality of care given to pesticide poisoning patients is still insufficient especially in sub-Saharan Africa. This study was aimed at exploring doctors' experiences on quality of care for pesticide poisoning cases in hospitals in Kampala, Uganda.
METHODS: Fifteen (15) in-depth interviews were conducted with doctors who were directly involved in management of pesticide poisoning patients in the accident and emergency, Medicine, Pediatrics and Intensive Care Unit wards in 5 hospitals in Kampala, Uganda. All interviews were transcribed and subjected to directed content analysis with the guidance of the Donabedian model of quality of care which emphasizes structure, process and outcome measures as pertinent to ensuring quality of care.
RESULTS: Doctors reported structural, process and outcome facets that support diagnosis and treatment of pesticide poisoning cases that improved the quality of care they provided. Among the structures includes hospital units such as Intensive Care Unit (ICU), pediatrics and internal medicine; equipment and clinical guidelines such as airway, breathing and consciousness (ABC) protocol; and doctors' knowledge and experiences. Doctors relied on history, and signs and symptoms to establish the cause and severity of pesticide poisoning. However, some patients and caretakers provided inaccurate pesticide poisoning history. Due to its availability in hospitals, doctors largely relied on atropine to manage pesticide poisoning cases whether or not relevant to treat the actual pesticide active ingredient responsible for the poisoning. Although majority of the cases treated recovered, those due to suicide were further referred to the hospital psychiatrist. Sharing experiences of managing pesticide poisoning patients among health workers and engaging in sensitization outreaches against pesticide poisoning were reported as potential activities to improve quality of care for pesticide poisoning patients.
CONCLUSION: Doctors reflected on the structure, process and outcome measures of quality of care given to pesticide poisoning patients. The implications of hospital structures and clinical process to the quality of the outcomes of care demonstrates their importance in improving management of pesticide poisoning cases in hospitals in Kampala, Uganda.