Prevalence of self-medication for acute respiratory infections in Namibia : findings and implications

Kamati, Monika and Godman, Brian and Kibuule, Dan (2019) Prevalence of self-medication for acute respiratory infections in Namibia : findings and implications. Journal of Research in Pharmacy Practice, 8 (4). pp. 220-224. ISSN 2279-042X

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    Abstract

    Background: Acute respiratory infections (ARIs) are a leading cause of morbidity and mortality among under-fives. However, self-medication and “self-care” care practices remain common especially among informal settlements in Namibia. Consequently, we sought to ascertain the rationale for this to guide future activities. Method: Mixed method approach among residents in an informal settlement in Namibia to determine the extent of health seeking behaviors and the rationale for any self-medication. Results: Of the 100 informal households surveyed, 60% used self-medication for ARIs including cold/flu medication, paracetamol and decongestants. There was no self-purchasing of antibiotics. The main drivers of self-medication were a perceived diagnosis of ARI as “minor or mild” as well as long waiting times and queues to receive care at public health facilities. Conclusion: The majority of households in this settlement self-medicate for ARIs. There is need for outreach primary health care services in the future in townships to screen and appropriately manage ARI to address concerns. This can include increasing pharmacy services.