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Medics Concerned over Increase in Self-Medication

A study carried out by Kabarole District Health Department shows that 75 percent of patients diagnosed with malaria first take over the counter drugs and only seek proper diagnosis after failing to heal.
Self prescribing medicine can be dangerous.

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Health workers in Kabarole district express concern over the increase in the number of patients who practice self-medication for malaria. The workers are worried that if not controlled, self-prescription and medication will impede efforts towards eradication of Malaria.

A study carried out by Kabarole District Health Department shows that 75 percent of patients diagnosed with malaria first take over the counter drugs and only seek proper diagnosis after failing to heal.

Dr Steven Baguma, a medic from Fort Portal Referral Hospital says that some families administer anti-malaria medicine for every fever even if the cause by is not established. Baguma explains that patients, who self-medicate, end up taking the wrong prescription and the wrong medication. He says the trend is dangerous.

Baguma also faults pharmacies for unprofessionally dispensing drugs to patients who don't have any prescription notes from qualified health workers.  He adds that some of the drugs could be fake and expired.

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Christine Kyomuhendo, a nurse at Bukuku Health Centre IV says that some of the malaria patients who visit the facility admit using drugs prior to visiting the facilities.

Kyomuhendo explains some of the patients are young children who when treated at home receive twice as much medicine as those prescribed by qualified health workers, which results to over treatment. She recommends that patients undergo blood tests to ascertain the type of ailment they are suffering from before rushing for self-treatment.

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However, some patients argue that they are forced to practice self-treatment because drug shops are easily accessible, barriers of accessing health facilities and the costs involved.

Margaret Kogere, a resident of Karago in Bukuku Sub County, says that drug shops in her area can be accessed any time as opposed to clinics and other health facilities.

Last year, a report by the Ministry of Health indicated that the national average of resistance to malaria treatment stands at 17.7 percent, which is as a result of self- medication.

The report states that, when people self-medicate, they fail to take the adequate doses they need to cure malaria, which causes some to develop resistance against the drugs, leading to eventual death.

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