Pan African Medical Journal

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Characterization of pharmaceutical medication without a medical prescription in children before hospitalization in a resource-limited setting, Cameroon

Calixte Ida Penda, Else Carole Eboumbou Moukoko, Julien Franck Ngomba Youmba, Emmanuel Mpondo Mpondo


Introduction: The use of different therapeutic approaches is common among sick children in Cameroon. The main objective of this study was to characterize the use of non-prescription drugs and describe the therapeutic itineraries of sick children before admission to the hospital.

Methods: A cross-sectional and prospective study was conducted from January to May 2017. A closed-ended questionnaire (CEQ) consisting of one or several response options was administered to the parents/guardians of the children on admission to the hospital in the pediatric ward of the Laquintinie Hospital in Douala (LHD) and the Cité des Palmiers District Hospital (CPDH) of the city of Douala. Inclusion of participants was made consecutively for adolescents who gave their consent and parents or guardians who signed the informed consent for all children. The confidentiality of the data was ensured by the replacement of the names by codes.

Results: Overall, 295 hospitalized children were included with an average age of 3.1 (SD: 3.3) years in the study. More than half of these children (58.6%) came from LHD. More than 90% of parents had at least one therapeutic recourse (TR). The ratio of boys to girls 3/1. Self-medication (74.1%) and medical consultation (16.9%) were the main therapeutic paths in 1st recourse. The medical consultation (80.2%) and the pharmaceutical advice (16.9%) were used frequently in 2nd recourse. The mean lapse time to see a medical professional was 2.7 days (min-max: 0-14 days). The main symptoms associated with TR were fever (76.6%), vomiting (24.7%) and diarrhea (22.7%). The most frequently used drugs were Analgesics/antipyretics (47.6%), antimalarials (15.0%) and antibiotics (10.2%) and the family medicine box was the highest source of drugs.

Conclusion: Self medication remains the first therapeutic path, followed by medical consultation as second therapeutic path taken when the disease is perceived as serious.

Keywords: Therapeutic itineraries, children, self-medication, hospitalization, Cameroon
AJOL African Journals Online