Prevalence and possible causes of antibiotic self-medication among rural dwellers and volunteer health workers in Nattalin Township, Bago region, Myanmar

Thein Hlaing, Tun W. Lat, Zaw M. Myint


Background: In Myanmar, the emergence of antibiotic-resistant strains is increased, but its exact causes remain unrecognized. This cross-sectional study examined the prevalence and possible causes of antibiotic self-medication (ASM) among rural dwellers and volunteer health workers (VHWs).

Methods: 445 adult rural dwellers from 24 villages and all the 133 registered VHWs within Nattalin Township were examined for illnesses, types and sources of antibiotics, knowledge, perception and possible causes for ASM practices within the last six months. The significant causes of ASM were determined by 95% CI resulting from bivariate and multivariate analysis.

Results: The ASM proportions of rural dwellers and VHWs were 14.2% and 84.2%. The top three most frequent illnesses for ASM were sore throat-(28.6%), respiratory symptoms-(15.8%) and diarrhoea-(17.9%) among rural dwellers and the common cold-(30.4%), sore throat-(25.0%) and respiratory symptoms-(20.6%) among VHWs. In ASM of rural dwellers and VHWs, amoxicillin-(46.0% and 67.9%) was used for the most frequency followed by cefixime-(33.3% and 29.5%), ampicillin-(22.2% and 8.9%) and penicillin-V-(6.3% and 10.7%). For ASM practice, convenience-(54.0% and 65.2%), their prior experiences-(60.3% and 49.1%) and cost reduction advantages-(31.7% and 25.0%), and for the availability of antibiotics, community pharmacies-(88.9% and 78.6%) were mentioned among rural dwellers and VHWs respectively. Among rural dwellers and VHWs, ASM was significantly associated with knowledge-(AOR: 0.5, 95% CI-0.2, 0.9, AOR: 0.2, 95% CI-0.05, 0.8) and keeping antibiotics-(AOR: 64, 95% CI-14, 292, AOR: 45, 95% CI-5.1, 395).

Conclusions: Through multisectoral approaches, it is necessary to promote awareness of the consequences of irrational antibiotic use, enforce national drug laws, and regular inspections on community pharmacies, and provide easy access to public health infrastructures.



Antibiotic self-medication, Prevalence, Possible causes, Rural dwellers, Volunteer health workers

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