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Abstract

THE MISUSE OF ANTIBIOTICS: WHOSE RESPONSIBILITY IS IT, ANYWAY?

Ghada Omar Shouna*

ABSTRACT

The growing problem of antimicrobial resistance, with the decline in the development of new antibiotics, is becoming a global threat. Imprudent use of antibiotics, including self-medication has been found to be one of the major factors. Self-medication with antibiotics in Sudan is high at 49%. The aim of this study is to assess the beliefs, behaviour and factors that lead to the practice of self-medication with antibiotics (SMA) in order to formulate appropriate interventions to help control the development of antimicrobial resistance. Methods: Focus group discussions were carried out involving 27 adult participants from nonmedical background who have used antibiotics within the past six months. Questionnaire guide was used to explore their current practices with regard to antibiotic use and the factors that led to using them without prescriptions. Data was analysed in a thematic way using a frame work approach. Findings:  Knowledge about antibiotics generally was found to be inadequate.  Reasons for using antibiotics without prescription included dissatisfaction with health services and doctors‟ attitudes, cost, difficulties to access doctors and convenience.  Awareness of antibiotic resistance was poor and antibiotics were regarded as safe medicines. Conclusion: This research showed a poor knowledge and irrational attitude towards SMA among study participants. Improper practice was influenced by participants‟ knowledge, attitudes and misconception regarding SMA. Intervention studies need to be carried out to determine ways to restrict over-the-counter purchase of antibiotic and to constrain SMA behaviour.

Keywords: Self-Medication, Antibiotic Use, Antimicrobial Resistance.


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