Antimalarial Drug Use Pattern in Pawe Special Woreda, North West Ethiopia: A Community Based Survey
Treatment failures and mortality due to malaria have been steadily rising over the past years, probably due to increasing resistance to antimalarial drugs. Improper drug storage and rampant self-medication are some of the factors that may contribute to an increase in the development of drug resistance to malaria parasites. This study shows the utilization pattern of anti-malarial drugs in Pawe Special Woreda, Beneshangul- Gumuz Regional State north west Ethiopia. Both quantitative (a pre-tested trained interviewer administered questionnaire) and qualitative methods (focus group discussions (FGDs) and key-informant interviews (KIIs) were employed in data collection between August and September 2008. 6.1% of the 1043 people tested for malaria reported malaria infection during the 14 days preceding the study. Sixty nine (38.8%) of these self-medicated themselves with antimalarials. Households (HHs) with a family size of less than, or equal to 5 persons (OR = 0.47, CI = 0.25, 0.90, P = 0.02) were less likely to practice self-medication than those with a family size of more than 5 persons. Thirty six, (8.3%) of the HHs were found to hoard antimalarial drugs at home. Self-medication practice for perceived malaria/symptom complexes was mentioned by some of the FGD and KII participants who reported buying anti-malarial drugs from private drug retail outlets for the practice. The prevalence of perceived malaria in the study area had declined by more than half when compared with the findings of previous studies. The study also revealed that near a tenth of the HHs stockpiled anti-malarial drugs. Continuous education and awareness creation of residents on the prevention and treatment of malaria, the consequences of rampant self-medication and the problems associated with drug hoarding should be maintained if the malaria control efforts were to be successful.
Keywords: antimalarial drug use pattern, self-medication, drug hoarding, Pawe, north west Ethiopia