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January 2022

Soc Sci Med. 1984 ; 19(7): 699-703.

Self-medication: an important aspect of primary health care.

Abosede OA.

The main objective of this study was to determine the degree to which individuals practised self-medication in relation to their educational status. Kalutara, a small town in Sri-Lanka is semi-urban and has a good mixture of literates and illiterates. Important findings include the fact that knowledge of drugs was grossly inadequate, literates self-medicated far more than illiterates and a high percentage of the total sample population by-passed other health personnel in preference for Western trained doctors. Self-medication, though desirable, can be dangerous and should be emphasized as a component of primary health care because (i) it is commonly practised even where health professionals are easily accessible, (ii) it encourages self-reliance for curative, preventive, promotive and rehabilitative care and (iii) literacy, which seems to enhance its practice, is increasing worldwide.

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