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Niger Postgrad Med J. 2019 Jul-Sep;26(3):189-194. doi: 10.4103/npmj.npmj_87_19.

Self-medication practice in Akuse, a rural setting in Ghana.

Author information

Ghana Health Service, School of Pharmacy, University of Ghana, Accra, Ghana.
USAID|DELIVER Project, School of Pharmacy, University of Ghana, Accra, Ghana.
Ghana Police Hospital, School of Pharmacy, University of Ghana, Accra, Ghana.
Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, School of Pharmacy, University of Ghana, Accra, Ghana.



In most resource-poor settings, there is a paucity of data on self-medication and possible factors that influence this practice. The current study assesses self-medication among the people of Akuse, a rural setting in the Eastern Region of Ghana.


A quantitative cross-sectional study was carried out in Akuse from 4th January 2016 to 27th February 2016. Using a questionnaire, interviews were conducted to assess self-medication: class of drugs taken, sources of drugs, knowledge of potential adverse effects, among others.


Of the 363 participants enrolled, 361 completed questionnaires administered. Of the 361 respondents, 58.4% were female. A majority of the respondents were within the ages of 30 and 45 years. Respondents were mainly farmers (40.2%), and a majority (44.6%) had primary level as the highest education. One major reason for self-medication was influence from family and friends (32.7%). Antibiotics (32.1%) and analgesics (21.0%) were the most common self-medicated drugs, and these drugs were mostly obtained from licenced chemical sellers (32.5%). A little more than a third (39.9%) of the respondents said that their condition did not change after self-medication. A greater number of the respondents (81.7%) did not have knowledge of potential adverse reactions associated with self-medicated drugs. However, respondents with high educational level had the most knowledge of adverse drug reactions.


The study found self-medication as a common practice among a number of residents of Akuse. Findings from this study provide data that could be used for targeted education and sensitisation of self-medication and its demerits in similar resource-poor rural settings.


Drugs; questionnaire; respondent; self-medication

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