Main Article Content
Aims: To describe features of self-medication of children and determine factors associated with it.
Study Design: This was a cross-sectional study.
Place and Duration of Study: This study was conducted in five hospitals of Kisangani, in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Methodology: We included all parents who brought their children for a new consultation. The dependent variables were the fact of giving medicines to children and the reasons related to this practice. Collected data were managed by Epi info™ 220.127.116.11. Chi-square test and Odds ratio evaluated the association between the level of instruction and other variables at 95% confidence interval.
Results: During the study period, 403 parents answered to our questionnaire. Most of them were mothers (94.8%). Parents’ education level was low (62.53%). Most of sick children were between 2 to 24 months-old (54.6%). They received at home 2.1 ± 1.3 drugs (1 to 8 drugs; median: 2 drugs): 81% were modern, 14% combined modern and traditional and 5% were traditional alone. Tablets and syrups were the two most used forms. Antipyretics like paracetamol were the most used. Parents gave drugs with dosage errors in 58% of cases. Only 37.8% of them asked advice from a physician, nurse or pharmacist to determine the dose. The main reasons for giving medicines without prescription were avoidance of too many formalities in hospitals or lack of enough money to bring children to the hospital.
Factors associated with self-medication were the female sex of parents (P = .004), the longer duration of the disease before bringing the child to the hospital (OR 1.5: 0.9 – 2.5; P = .04) and storage at home of drugs used formerly (OR 1.8: 1.1 – 3.1; P = .01). Parents of 30 years-old and less gave fewer medicines than more above 30 years-old (P = .0005).
Conclusion: The rate of children self-medication is high at Kisangani. Communication of health professionals, doctors, nurses and pharmacists is needed to reduce it.