SELF-MEDICATION WITH ANTI-MALARIAL MEDICINES AMONG HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS IN DAR ES SALAAM, TANZANIA
Objective: The objective of this study was to determine the prevalence of self-medication with anti-malarial medicines among high school students in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and to assess their knowledge on malaria and the dangers of self-medication.
Methods: A pre-tested questionnaire was used in data collection. Data obtained include demographic characteristics, use of anti-malarial medicines without prescription in the past six months, knowledge on malaria, knowledge on the dangers of self-medication, type of anti-malarial used for self-medication, the source of medicine and reasons for self-medication. Data were analyzed using SPSS version 20. Descriptive analysis was undertaken and the chi-square test was used to test significant differences in proportions between the different variables. A p-value of less than 0.05 was considered to be statistically significant.
Results: A total of 400 students were enrolled in the study. The frequency of anti-malarial self-medication by high school students in Dar es Salaam was 18.5%. The overall students' level of knowledge on malaria and on the dangers of self-medication was low (73.0%). Artemether/lumefantrine and malafinÂ® tablets were the most frequently used medicines for self-medication with a prevalence of 45.9% and 38.5% respectively. Past experience in treating similar disease, lack of money and easy access to anti-malarial medicine emerged as the main factors influencing their self-medication practice.
Conclusion: The prevalence of self-medication with anti-malarial medicines by high school students is relatively high given the low prevalence of malaria in Dar es Salaam. The students demonstrated a low knowledge on malaria and on the dangers of self-medication.
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