Self-medication in three towns of North West Ethiopia
AbstractBackground: Most illnesses do not come to the attention of physicians; as many of these are either tolerated or self-medicated, in developing countries.
Objective: This retrospective study was aimed at assessing the magnitude, type and factors of self-medication in three towns of Northwest Ethiopia.
Methods: A community-based cross sectional survey with two-week illness recall was conducted. Open-ended questionnaire consisting of general demographic and socioeconomic questions as well as questions on illness in the last two weeks prior to the interview and treatment strategies, was prepared and administered.
Results: A total of 1880 households with 10/170 individuals were visited. Of which 1190 (11.6%) individuals in 984 households reported at least one episode of an illness and of whom 324 (27.5%) conducted self-medication. Self-medication was conducted using both modern pharmaceuticals and traditional medicines. Financial reasons and the triviality of illnesses were the top-two reported factors of self-medication.
Conclusion: The importance of increasing access to modern health facilities and public education regarding the safe application of self-medication is needed.
(Ethiopian Journal of Health Development, 2001, 15(1): 25-30)