Factors Related to Self-Medication and Its Effects on the Health of University Students in Uganda
Author: MUBANGIZI PROSPER
Supervisor: Miisa Nanyingi
Self-medication is a common practice in most parts of the world (Joseph et al, 2011) and it is of public health concern worldwide.
The purpose of the study was to determine the factors related to self-medication and its effects on the health of University students in Uganda. The objectives were to determine the magnitude of self-medication, to identify factors related to self-medication and to examine the effects of self-medication on the health of university students in Uganda. The study used a descriptive cross sectional design using both quantitative and qualitative methods of data collection. Quantitative data was collected from sample of 443 respondents who were asked to participate by filling a self-administered questionnaire and were selected using purposive sampling technique. While qualitative data was collected from 9 key informants and 6 focus group discussions.
The response rate was at 90.3% and the prevalence of self-medication among the university students was 65.5%. The majority (73.2%) of the study respondents generally used the painkillers for self-medication and paracetamol was the medicine used by the majority (62%).The majority of the respondents (85.7%) accessed the medicines from the pharmacies and drug shops.
The prevalence of self-medication was high (50.4%) among the age group of 21-23 years and, among students (85.7%) who had no medical insurance. However males (70.2%), exhibited higher prevalence than their female (29.8%) counterparts. Regarding factors related to self-medication, most of the respondents (42.2%) who self-medicated complained of having a runny nose followed by cough (24.1%). Majority of the respondents (43.4%) also self-medicated for convenience purposes and saving time (37.2%) and most of the respondents (43.4%), said that their own experiences influenced their selection of medicines.
The self-medication negative effects reported were prolonged hospitalization and poor academic performance, drug resistance, adverse drug reactions like vomiting and dizziness and development of disease complications. However some respondents reported positive effects like getting quick recovery. It can be concluded that self-medication was generally high among university students and the drugs commonly used for self-medication on pain killers. Factors like convenience, Cost saving lack of awareness on the existence of medical services at the university health facilities, contributed highly towards students „self-medication. Effects of self-medication included prolonged hospitalisation, development of disease complications and adverse drug reactions.
There is urgent need for university management to routinely sensitise the students on the health services they provide in their health facilities especially during the period of orientation and also organize health education programmes intended to promote responsible self-medication so as to reduce its dangers and increase its benefits.