Knowledge, perceptions and practices on self-medication among Undergraduate Medical Students at Makerere University College of Health Sciences
Kibalizi, Joseph Mary
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Introduction: Drugs play a very important role in treatment of diseases in any health care system. However, there is misuse of drugs worldwide. Self-medication is one of the problems of misuse of drugs worldwide and plays a big role in microbial drug resistance particularly with antibiotics. Objectives of the study: The purpose of the study was to access the knowledge, perceptions and practices on self-medication among undergraduate medical students at Makerere University College of health sciences. Methodology: The study was cross sectional in nature with both quantitative and qualitative techniques. A sample size of 288 students was used. Proportionate and simple sampling were employed in getting study participants who were given self-administered questionnaires to complete as a data collection tool. Data was entered into a computer using SPSS software package version 16 and analyzed using STATA version 10. The results were described using measures of central tendency and dispersion. Mean and standard Deviation (SD) were computed for the continuous variables. Graphs and tables were used to present such data. For the categorical variables, frequencies and percentages were presented with the help of bar graphs and tables. Results: The research results indicated that the mean age was 22.6 and the majority of students who participated in the study were female (55.9%). The prevalence of self-medication was found to be markedly high (97%). The most common reason for self-medicating was that it is time saving (78.4%) and majority (98.6%) of the students reported that they self-medicated because of headache with antibiotics found to be the highly used class of drugs (99.6%). The common source of these drugs for self-medication was pharmacies (95.3%) and source of information was own knowledge (87.8%). 90.3% of the students agreed that the practice of self-medication was dangerous and 83.7% agreed that there is need to visit a qualified medical practitioner when ill. Of all respondents, 96.5% had practiced self-medication in the past 12 months. Conclusion and recommendation: The prevalence of self-medication among medical students at Makerere University College of Health Sciences is markedly high (97%). The medical students are knowledgeable about self-medication and have a positive attitude towards this practice. This study recommends that the university gives awareness talks to medical students on the dangers of practicing self-medication.