Self-medication with non-prescribed pharmaceutical agents in an area of low malaria transmission in northern Tanzania: a community-based survey.
BACKGROUND:Self-treatment with antimicrobials is common in sub-Saharan Africa. Little is known about the prevalence of this practice where malaria transmission intensity is low, and little is known about the prevalence of self-treatment with other medications such as antihypertensives and antihyperglycemics. METHODS:A two-stage randomized population-based cluster survey with selection proportional to population size was performed in northern Tanzania. Self-identified healthcare decision-makers from randomly selected households were asked to report instances of self-medication without a prescription in the preceding year. Associations between self-treatment and sociodemographic characteristics were assessed with Pearson's chi-squared and the Student's t-test. RESULTS:A total of 718 participants completed the survey, and 344 (47.9%) reported any household member obtaining medication without a prescription. Of these, 85 (11.8%) obtained an antimicrobial and four (0.6%) obtained an antihypertensive or antihyperglycemic. Of respondents reporting self-treatment, 306 (89.0%) selected the medication themselves. Self-treatment with antimicrobials was associated with post-primary education (OR 1.95, 95% CI 1.22-3.16, p=0.005), younger age (43.1 vs 48.7 years, p=0.007) and higher socioeconomic status score (0.42 vs 0.34, p=0.023). CONCLUSIONS:Self-treatment with antimicrobials in an area of low malaria transmission intensity was uncommon and self-treatment with antihypertensives and antihyperglycemics was rare.
Hertz, JT; Madut, DB; Tesha, RA; William, G; Simmons, RA; Galson, SW; Maro, VP; Crump, JA; Rubach, MP
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