Saturday, April 14, 2007

Abstract presented atr scientific sessions on the eve of the 25 th anniversary of PGIM

Practice and predictors of self-medication among urban and rural adults in Sri Lanka

P R Wijesinghe, R De A. Senevirathne, R L Jayakody

Introduction: Self medication is practiced in all communities to varying degrees and information about it in Sri Lanka is scarce.

Objective: To describe the practice and predictors of self-medication in a selected urban and rural area.

Methods: A community-based cross sectional survey of 1800 adults, selected by stratified, multi-stage, probability proportional sampling procedure was carried out in Gampaha and Polonnaruwa districts. Medication use was modeled as a function of predisposing, enabling and need variables.

Results: Self-medication was practiced by 12.2% urban and 7.9% rural adults (p<0.05). A majority had self medicated for acute onset conditions of short duration (urban-58%; rural-67%) and conditions perceived as non severe (urban-55%; rural-64%).

Fewer number of symptoms, perceived low acceptability of services and being a member of a small household emerged as significant predictors of self-medication in the urban sector. Inability to afford medical care, perceived higher technical competence of the pharmacy staff and fewer number of symptoms were significant predictors in the rural sector.

Conclusion: Prevalence of self medication, which is higher in the urban sector, is lower than the estimates reported for developed countries. Adults self medicate mainly for conditions of acute onset, short duration and less severity. Although medical services are available, poor acceptability of services prompted urban individuals to self medicate. Inability to afford medical services and perceived higher technical competence of pharmacy staff prompted rural individuals to self-medicate.

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