Antibiotic Knowledge, Attitude and Practice of Use Among Early Years Medical and Non-medical Students in Tanzania

Objective: Antimicrobial resistance has been called one of the greatest threats of the century worldwide. Self-treatment with antibiotics impacts the most on antimicrobial resistance. High-income countries have been conscious of the problem for several years and restrict the availability of antibiotics. In Tanzania there is little control of access to antibiotics, and there is an increasing trend of self-medication with antibacterials. The aim of this study is to assess and compare knowledge of antibiotics and experience of their use among Tanzanian medical and non-medical students. Materials and Methods: The current study was conducted in the largest Tanzanian university, the University of Dodoma. The study was based on a questionnaire survey, which included questions regarding knowledge about and experience of use of antibiotics, and the socioeconomic situation of the respondent. Results: Medical students were found to be more knowledgeable about antibiotics, but no significant difference in antibiotic use among medical and non-medical respondents was observed. Medical student respondents had a slightly higher percentage of self-treatment experience. Factors associated with self-treatment rates were different: educational for medical students and economic for non-medical. Analysis of antibiotic usage showed Ampicillin, Amoxicillin and others from Penicillin group to be the most popular between both groups. Nevertheless, many students in both groups, confused antibiotics, pain killers and antiallergic drugs. Conclusion: In general, the data collected confirmed informal observation of a higher prevalence of self-treatment among medical students than non-medical, common antimicrobial resistance illiteracy and inclination to self-medicate with antibiotics regardless of the ailment in both of groups. This dramatically demonstrates the necessity of antibiotic use guidance and control in the country.

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