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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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School of Pharmacy, Jimma University, Ethiopia.



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.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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