ASSESSMENT OF KNOWLEDGE, PRACTICE AND PERCEPTION OF NIGERIAN MEDICAL
PRACTITIONERS ON COVID-19 AND ITS TREATMENT USING ANTIMALARIAL DRUGS
Background Pharmaceutical interventions are being investigated as
possible treatment options for COVID-19. Antimalarial
drugs-Hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine are also being investigated in
clinical trials due to their antiviral effects though their efficacy in
the treatment of COVID-19 is largely inconclusive. This study assessed
the knowledge, perception and practice of prescribing these drugs in the
treatment of COVID-19 by practicing medical doctors in Nigeria.
Materials and methods The survey was conducted online using Google forms
sent via a link on WhatsApp© and Facebook© through the authors’ contacts
to medical doctors in the six geo-political zones of Nigeria from
April-May, 2020. Ethical issues were addressed by ensuring the anonymity
of respondents, voluntary participation and non-incentivized.
Descriptive statistics were used to determine the mean and frequencies
of data generated using SPSS version 22. Results Responses were obtained
from 145 medical doctors with mean age 37.78±6.47 years and 10.9±5.58
years of practice experience. All the respondents knew that the virus
affects the lungs. Over 48% of the doctors believed in the efficacy of
the antimalarial drugs and more than half of them thought it would be
more effective for mild disease presentation. About 46.8% of
respondents agreed to prescribe the drug to COVID-19 patients and most
based their decisions on case reports, recommendations of NCDC or WHO.
However, 75.9% believed a randomized control trial should be conducted
to determine the efficacy and safety of the drugs. Conclusion Practicing
doctors in Nigeria are knowledgeable on COVID-19 and their perceptions
and decision to prescribe antimalarial drugs are largely dependent on
clinical trial outcomes.