Factors Responsible For Self Medication Among The Indigenes Of Ekosodin

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This study is aimed at finding out the factors responsible for self-medication among the indigenes of Ekosodin community in Benin City.

The review of related literature was done using known works in the area of self-medication and self care.

A 20-item questionnaire was administered to find out the various factors influencing their choice to practice self-medication. The data obtained was analysed using frequency and percentages.

The findings of the study showed that lack of accessibility to health services and facilities, poor implementation and enforcement of drug laws and policies and unavailability and ineffective dissemination of drug information to members of the community were the major factors responsible for the practice of self medication among members of the community.



Background to the Study

In the past few years, self-medication has spread widely throughout the world. This is partly due to the fact that people are increasingly taking responsibility for their own health. On the other hand, social security is inadequate and not able to cover the growing expenses and so backs up the idea of self-medication out of financial consideration.

Ekosodin, the community in which the study is being carried out, is a small community located in Ovia North-East Local Government Area in Edo State, Nigeria. It is mostly populated by students and staff of the University of Benin due to its proximity to the campus. The indigenes of the community are mostly farmers, petty traders and artisans such as carpenters, hairdressers, tailors, welders, etc.

It has been observed generally that people will rather purchase over-the-counter drugs from a pharmacy than go to the hospital to consult a doctor for diagnosis of symptoms and prescription. Therefore some drugs have been removed from the category of prescription drugs and put under the over-the-counter drugs category. Consequently, people experiencing milder symptoms do not need to see a doctor because they can see the pharmacist for advice and medication for the ailment. This goes further to point out the fact that the advisory function of the pharmacist is becoming more prominent, giving the doctor more time to attend to severe cases.

One major health concern in health care is also the excessive consumption of drugs which can lead to other health problems and situations like drug dependence, addiction and tolerance. This ahs become widespread and rampant in the developed and developing society of today. It can be controlled if drug distribution is strictly restricted to only certified pharmacies with licensed pharmacists.

Drug manufacturers, on the other hand, have not helped the situation as their chief concern is to promote the sales of the medicines and products without giving adequate information to the public on such drugs, if possible, in their local language. This is further compounded by high illiteracy levels, poverty and inadequate health facilities and personnel. In developed countries with sufficient health man-power and in some case, facilities, many people still buy non-dangerous medications without a doctor’s prescription. This practice of self-medication cuts across culture, gender, health or any other socio-demographic or socio-medical state.

Self-medication is however of public health concern because of the problem of drug misuse and abuse and its attendant medical (drug resistance and hypersensitivity), social (juvenile delinquency) and psychological (addiction and physical dependence) problems. Also, the lack of knowledge of possible side effects of self administered medication and the sale of potentially dangerous drugs as over-the-counter drugs and nostrums especially in developing and under developed countries could have negative effects on the general health of the members of the community.

This study seeks to bring to light the influencing factors responsible for the self-medication behaviour exhibited by people, using the indigenes and residents of Ekosodin as a case study, so that solutions can be proffered for its control to the barest minimum.

Statement of the Problem

In recent times, the problem of self-medication, though it has its advantages and plays a key role in self care, has become widespread in the community at large among both the educated and uneducated individuals. Many people find it easier, as it were, to go to a pharmacy, chemist, medicine store or herbalist to purchase medicine to ease whatever discomfort or health issue they might be experiencing. In other cases, they will rather take health related advice from their friends, neighbours, colleagues, family members, classmates, acquaintances, etc. or rely on previous knowledge gotten from previous experiences of the same nature with the one they are currently feeling than go to a doctor or health care professional for advice, check-up, test and diagnosis or prescription.

Due to this, many have found themselves in worse health situations than they originally were with unrelieved symptoms or even life-threatening conditions. Others start experiencing physical dependence and addiction to these drugs because of the free access they have to them. Also, the practice of self medication has helped to increase the incidences of drug misuse and abuse. These can be attributed to a number of factors. This study seeks to illuminate these factors so that measures can be put in place to tackle the problems.

Research Questions

The following research questions were drawn to direct the study:

Are lack of accessibility of the community members to health facilities and services responsible for their self-medication practices?

Are poor implementation and enforcement of drug laws and policies regulating the sales of prescription and non-prescription medicines in the community responsible for their self-medication practices?

Are unavailability and ineffective dissemination of drug information in the community responsible for their self-medication practices?

Is the preference for traditional medicine over orthodox medicine by members of the community responsible for their self-medication practices?

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of the study is to find out the factors responsible for the incidence of self-medication so that solutions can be proffered for its control and regulation in the immediate community, nation and world at large.

Significance of the Study

The findings or data drawn from this study will serve as a gude for Health Educators to deal appropriately with the practice of self-medication. It will also form a background or basis for further research in this area.

Delimitation of the Study

This study is delimited to studying the influencing factors responsible for the practice of self-medication among the current residents of Ekosodin community. All information or data to be collected are to be gotten from the present residents of the community only.

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