n African Journal for Physical Health Education, Recreation and Dance - Household survey on the pattern of utilization of medicines in selected communities in South Africa : health and wellness

Volume 14, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1117-4315


The aim of this study was to examine the prevalence of drug use, and how morbidity, use of health services, self-evaluated health, demographic pattern and lifestyle characteristics influence drug use in a general population. The sample included 400 households randomly selected from two provinces (Western Cape and Limpopo). Results showed that 29% of the medicines used were not prescribed by a health professional. The numbers of households keeping antibiotics were 11.3%, analgesics 26.8%, steroids 1.0%, and vitamins 6.0%. Most respondents (62.1%) indicated that they had obtained these medicines free of charge, while 25.1% paid in the range of 1 to 25 Rand and 12.8% paid above 25 rand for their medicines. Most participants indicated that they have access to a health facility within 10km of their residence where they could obtain medicines, could be reached within 30 minutes, and it would cost less than 5 Rand for transport to reach the facility. On the management of childhood diarrhea, most respondents (63%) indicated that they would first give oral rehydration solution (ORS) while 22% said they would start by taking the child to a health professional. Our findings suggest a need for an educational intervention to help patients decide on the appropriateness of self-medication so as to improve on rational drug use at household level. Attempts to reduce inappropriate self-medication should target prescribers, pharmacists, and the general public.

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


Article metrics loading...


This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error