Self-medication practices and predictors for self-medication with antibiotics and antimalarials among community in Mbeya City, Tanzania

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Background: Self-medication with antimalarials and antibiotics is highly practiced worldwide particularly in developing countries including Tanzania. This study was carried out to determine selfmedication practices with antimalarials and antibiotics, and as well as predictors for self-medication among urban communities of Mbeya in Tanzania.

Methods: A cross sectional descriptive community survey was conducted in Mbeya City in the Southwestern highlands of Tanzania from April to June 2016. The study population comprised of adults participants aged 18 years and above. Face to face interviews were conducted using a structured pretested questionnaires. Data on self-medication practices and predictors of self-medication was assessed. Descriptive statistics and logistic regression analysis were used s to assess predictors associated with self-medication with either antibiotic or antimalarials.

Results: A total of 300 individuals (mean age= 35.4 ± 13.4 years) were involved in the study. Prevalence of self-medication with either of the drugs, antibiotic only and antimalarial only was 55.7%, 19.7% and 19.0%, respectively. Participants who were employed had higher odds of selfmedicating with antibiotics than students (OR=4.13, 95% CI: 1.14-14.96). Participants who kept medicines at home had lower odds of self-medicating with either antibiotic or antimalarial than those who do not keep. The main reason that was indicated for the self- medication was emergency illness. The main source of medicines was the private pharmacies.

Conclusion: There is generally high self-medication practice among urban communities of Mbeya, Tanzania. Community awareness on the practice of self-medication and its implications especially on the harmful effects of self-medication that are less known. The self-medication rates with antibiotics and antimalarials are higher among urban communities of Mbeya, Tanzania. There is an urgent need for the government to enforce regulations on pharmacies dispensing medications, especially antibiotics, without prescriptions. Public education on the implication of self-medication is equally important to address to reduce self-medication with antibiotics and antimalarials among Tanzanian populations.