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J Res Pharm Pract. 2019 Dec 27;8(4):220-224. doi: 10.4103/jrpp.JRPP_19_121. eCollection 2019 Oct-Dec.

Prevalence of Self-Medication for Acute Respiratory Infections in Young Children in Namibia: Findings and Implications.

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Department of Pharmacy Practice and Policy, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Namibia, Windhoek, Namibia.
Department of Laboratory Medicine, Karolinska Institute, Karolinska University Hospital Huddinge, Stockholm, Sweden.
Department of Pharmacoepidemiology, Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, United Kingdom.
Health Economics Centre, Management School, Liverpool University, Liverpool, United Kingdom.
Department of Public Health Pharmacy and Management, Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University, Ga-Rankuwa, South Africa.



Acute respiratory infections (ARIs) are a leading cause of morbidity and mortality among under-fives. However, self-medication and "self-care" care practices remain common, especially among informal settlements in Namibia. Consequently, we sought to ascertain the rationale for this to guide the future activities.


Mixed method approach among residents in an informal settlement in Namibia to determine the extent of health-seeking behaviors and the rationale for any self-medication.


Of the 100 everyday households surveyed, 60% used self-medication for ARIs in children under five including cold/flu medication, paracetamol, and decongestants. There was no self-purchasing of antibiotics. The main drivers of self-medication were a perceived diagnosis of ARI as "minor or mild" as well as long waiting times and queues to receive care at public health facilities.


The majority of households in this settlement self-medicate their children for ARIs. There are needs for outreach primary health care services in the future in townships to screen and appropriately manage ARI to address concerns. This can include increasing pharmacy services.


Acute respiratory infections; Namibia; prevalence; self-medication

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