Introduction: Due to the huge impact of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in South Africa, it is critical that all health care professionals make the maximum possible contribution to prevention and care. Pharmacists in practice, who may have learnt little about the disease during their training, require to be taught and updated. We designed and implemented a continuing professional development (CPD) programme for this purpose. Learning materials were compact disc (CD) based and in print format. Aim: The main objective of the study described in this paper was to determine the effect of the training course on the level of knowledge of community pharmacists in South Africa and to identify whether any differences occurred between study group sub-groups which received the manual only or the CD plus the instructional manual. Method: We utilised a pre-intervention/post-intervention study design, with control and study groups, which also identified knowledge gaps at baseline. Questions in the research instrument were classified into five categories, transmission, testing and counselling, treatment, diagnosis and compliance/adherence. Differences between pre- and post-intervention results for the two groups were calculated, compared and analysed statistically and for effect size. Each respondent served as her/his own control. Results: The differences between the sub-groups at post-test 1 were small and not statistically significant. We therefore combined them and compared the performance of the study group as a whole against that of the control group. In three of the five knowledge categories baseline scores were low (average scores around 50%). In the study group, these three categories showed highly significant increases at post-intervention (scores improved by between 20 and 30%), as did the overall response. The total effect size was high (0.85). Conclusion: The CPD programme on the pharmacist in HIV/AIDS management tested in this study is highly effective in improving the knowledge base of participating pharmacists and hence preparing them for a wider role in reducing the effect of the pandemic.
- CD and printed manual teaching material