Self-Medication Among Students in Higher Institutions in Yaounde, Cameroon: Risk-Benefit Analysis
Denis Mbako Jato*
Integrated Health for All Foundation (IHAF), Yaounde, Cameroon
*Corresponding Author: Denis Mbako Jato, Integrated Health for All Foundation (IHAF), Yaounde, Cameroon.
November 02, 2022; Published: January 10, 2023
Introduction: Self-medication remains a global public health concern, with many risks and benefits. This cross-sectional study seeks to analyse these potential good and bad sides and provide a balance where the negative impacts are reduced in the interest of population health.
Methodology: A pilot-tested, validated questionnaire was administered to participants. Data were collected and analysed using Microsoft Excel 2010 and the results expressed as counts and percentages, pie chart and histogram.
Results: Five hundred and fifty (550) questionnaires were administered, and 470 respondents filled correctly (85.45% participation rate). 57.0% of the respondents were undergraduate students, while 38.7% were within the age range 16 - 20 years. Self-medication practice was found to be high among students in higher institutions as shown by a prevalence of 80.6%. Of the 470 respondents, 240 (51.1%) said self-medication practice is good as opposed to 35.3% who disagreed, respectively stating benefits and risks. Drug resistance, treatment complication and disease recurrence emerged as major risks of self-medication (22.98%, 21.70% and 18.09% respectively). Other risks included increased mortality, no drug regulation, disorder, and organ damage. Potential benefits included treatment effectiveness (20.85%), cost-effectiveness (20.21%), time-saving (16.80%), availability (16.60%) and accessibility (11.06%). Economic growth and reduced Disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) were also considered to be beneficial.
Discussion and Conclusion: The prevalence of self-medication remains high, especially in low resource settings. This study showed that a majority of students of higher institutions favour self-medication. However, this practice needs to be kept under control to reduce the risks and maximize the benefits, towards ensuring population health.
Keywords: Self-medication; Self-Treatment; Risks; Benefits; Analysis
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