oa Southern African Journal of Infectious Diseases - Public knowledge, attitudes and behaviour towards antibiotic usage in Windhoek, Namibia : research

Volume 30, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 2312-0053



The development of antibiotic resistance is a globally recognised human health threat. Overuse of antibiotics is a major contributory factor to the development of resistance. As end users, the public play a role in antibiotic use and the development and spread of resistance. The purpose of the study was to assess the knowledge, attitudes and behaviour of the general population of Namibia accessing care in the private sector regarding antibiotic use.

A cross-sectional survey based on self-administered questionnaire was distributed to 600 patients through pharmacies in Windhoek, Namibia. The survey was conducted from March to June 2013.
A total of 446 completed questionnaires were collected. Eighty percent (80%) of respondents reported to have used antibiotics in the past year mainly for colds and flu symptoms. The majority of respondents obtained antibiotics through a valid doctor's prescription. A prevalence of fifteen percent (15%) of self-medication with antibiotics mainly obtained from pharmacies without a prescription was reported. Eighty percent (80%) of respondents reported completing the antibiotic course. Gaps in population understanding of antibiotics were observed. Sixty-four percent (64%) of the respondents thought that antibiotics were effective against viruses with just less than half revealing that they should take an antibiotic for a cold. Seventy-two percent (72%) of respondents understood that unnecessary use of antibiotics makes them ineffective.
Major findings of this study include the sale of antibiotics without a prescription; over prescribing of antibiotics for self-limiting upper respiratory tract infections; and, the presence of gaps in knowledge, attitudes and behaviour of the general population towards antibiotics and their use.

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