Shahzad Hussain*, Farnaz Malik, Kazi Muhammad Ashfaq, Ghazala Parveen, Abdul Hameed, Safia Ahmad, Humayun Riaz, Pervaiz Akhtar Shah and Tarik Saeed

A randomized, cross-sectional, multi-center study in five cities of Pakistan was under taken amongst a sample of randomly selected urban and rural household to ascertain the health seeking behavior and self-medication by members of the community. Modern drugs were available in 64.2% of households, other drugs, 32.7% had no drugs and 4.1% no drugs. The common drugs available in the homes of urban areas were 66% analgesics as compared to 34% in urban areas (p>0.001), 38% antibiotics in rural as compared to 62% in urban areas (p>0.001), cough syrups 31% in rural as compared to 69% in urban areas (p>0.001) and oral rehydration salt was available in 52% of rural areas as compared to 48% in urban areas (p>0.212). In the rural area, there were 1.9 episodes of illness as compared to 2.3 episodes per household (p>418) in urban areas. Amongst the short duration of illnesses, the most common were 41.2% fever, 14.5% upper and lower respiratory infections, 8.4% gastroenteritis, 8.6% skin problems and 21.2% aches and pains. Most common chronic diseases were 24.1% diabetes mellitus, 25.8% hypertension, 9.3% hepatitis B and C and 7.0% cardiovascular problem. In rural areas, 28.4% drugs were acquired from Pharmacies as compared to 64.6% in urban areas (p>0.001), 14.2% from GPs by rural residents as compared to 23.4% of urban residents (p>0.001). Self-medication was reported in 15.7% of urban areas as compared to 8.3% of rural areas (p>0.001) . The present study reveals that a large number of people are using medicines in urban and rural areas and difficult to stop self-medication. Educational interventions can improve “quality use of medicines” in developing country like Pakistan. Measures are needed to be taken to make health care delivery accessible at primary health care level

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