BMC public health 2017 09 2117(1) 732 doi 10.1186/s12889-017-4770-1
Medicines are commonly accessed and used for management of illness in children without a prescription. This potentially increases the risk of unwanted treatment outcomes. We investigated medicine use practices in management of symptoms of acute upper respiratory tract infections among children (≤12 years) in households in Nakawa division, Kampala city.
This was a cross-sectional study conducted among 390 randomly selected children. Data on use of medicines in children (≤12 years) during recent episode of acute upper respiratory tract infection was collected from their care takers using an interviewer administered questionnaire. A recall period of two weeks (14 days) was used in during data collection.
The prevalence of giving children non-prescription antimicrobial medicines was 44.8% (38.3-52.2). The most common disease symptoms that the children reportedly had included flu, 84.9% (331/390), cough, 83.1% (324/390), and undefined fever, 69.7% (272/390). Medicines commonly given to children included, paracetamol 53.1% (207/390), Coartem 29.7% (116/390), cough linctus 20.8% (81/390), amoxicillin 18.9% (74/390), Co-trimoxazole 18.5% (72/390), and diphenhydramine 15.4% (60/390). The major sources of medicines given to the children was hospital/clinic, 57.26% (223/390). Most of the children, 81% were given more than one medicine at a time. The majority, 62.3% (243/390) of the care takers who gave the children medicine during the recent illness were not aware of any medicine (s) that should not be given to children. The predictors of non-prescription use of antimicrobial medicines in managing symptoms of acute upper respiratory tract infections in children included, medicines obtained from drug shop (PR: 1.45, CI: 1.14-1.85), medicines at home (PR: 1.8, CI: 0.83-1.198) and type of medicine (antimalarial) (PR: 2.8, CI: 1.17-6.68).
Children are commonly given multiple medicines during episodes of acute upper respiratory tract infections with most antimicrobial agents accessed and used without a prescription in Kampala city, Uganda.