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Res Social Adm Pharm. 2009 Mar;5(1):76-81. doi: 10.1016/j.sapharm.2008.04.002. Epub 2008 Aug 8.

Assessment of self-medication practices in Assendabo town, Jimma zone, southwestern Ethiopia.

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  • 1School of Pharmacy, Jimma University, Ethiopia. sultan.suleman@ju.edu.et



The actions taken for the treatment of illness or symptom of an illness vary depending on the perceptions and experiences of individuals and other factors. A significant portion of all care in illness is self-care. In many cases, self-medication is an important initial response to illness. Although some health-care providers attach negative connotations to it, the World Health Organization acknowledges the existence of a valid role of self-medication.


This study was aimed at assessing the magnitude, type, and factors of self-medication in Assendabo town, Jimma, southwestern Ethiopia.


A community-based cross-sectional study was conducted in Assendabo town during February and March 2006. Open-ended questionnaire was used to collect data by interviewing heads of households in the study population. The data collected were properly screened before they were analyzed.


A total of 242 households with 1257 individuals were visited, of which 143 (11.4%) reported at least 1 episode of illness and of whom 56 (39%) used self-medication using both modern pharmaceuticals and traditional medicines. Low severity of illness was a major reason for practicing self-medication; 80.6% of self-medicating individuals had no information on potential drug adverse effect. About 55% of ill persons who treated themselves reported improvement in their condition.


There is high prevalence of self-medication in Assendabo town. Lack of drug information and accessibility to over-the-counter drugs without any health professional guide contributed to the high incidence of self-medication. Enforcement of regulations in drug distribution and provision of appropriate health education to the community at large is critical.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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