Self Medication and Associated Health Care Seeking Amongst Mothers of Children Aged Under 5 with Diarrhea and Respiratory Tract Infections in an Urban Slum


  • Hina Mahmood Department of Public Health & Community Medicine, Shaikh Zayed Medical Complex, Lahore
  • Rabbiya Sarwar Department of Community Medicine, University College of Medicine & Dentistry, Lahore
  • Hala Bashir Hashmi Department of Community Medicine, Quaid-e-Azam Medical College, Bahawalpur
  • Fizza Anwar Department of Community Medicine, CMH Lahore Medical College
  • Shameen Mahmood Department of Periodontology, De Montmorency College of Dentistry, Lahore



Self-medication, Healthcare seeking behavior, Children, Diarrhea, Respiratory tract infection


Introduction: Self-medication practice in childhood illnesses is quite common in developing countries. Self-medication practices are found to be influencing healthcare seeking behavior in developing countries.

Aims & Objectives: To assess self-medication practices and its association with health care seeking in mothers of children aged under 5 with diarrheal and respiratory illness episodes residing in an urban slum.

Place and duration of study: A cross-sectional analytical study conducted in Samsani-khui, an urban slum in district Lahore, from September 2016- February 2017.

Material & Methods: 422 mother-child units (only one child aged under 5 years) were recruited through systematic random sampling. Responses were recorded on a structured, self-constructed questionnaire about self-medication practices of mothers for the selected child during last 6 months in acute episodes of diarrhea or respiratory illness. Data was entered and analyzed on SPSS version 21. Fisher’s exact test was applied.

Results: Mean age of mothers was 26.81 ± 4.744 years, 16% were illiterate, 44.3% had attained primary education and 92.65% were housewives. 70.62% children included in study were boys. 61.8% mothers never practiced self-medication in their child whereas 38.2% administered medicines occasionally, frequently or every time the child got ill. 92.5% of the mothers practicing self-medication admitted that self-medication is responsible for delay in health care seeking. Out of these mothers, 59% sought formal health care without delay for their child suffering from diarrhea or RTI during last 6 months. 70.8% children recovered completely after practicing self-medication, as reported by mothers. While 23.0% reported late recovery, 3.1% reported complications and 3.1% reported hospitalization after self-medication. A highly significant association was found between practice of self-medication and health care seeking behavior (p=.001).

Conclusion: Practice of self-medication is present in one third of mothers of low income, literacy poor families. Mothers of this stratum showed poor perception about self-medication and as well as treatment delay. Self-medication practice strongly affects health care seeking behavior.




How to Cite

Hina Mahmood, Rabbiya Sarwar, Hala Bashir Hashmi, Fizza Anwar, Shameen Mahmood. Self Medication and Associated Health Care Seeking Amongst Mothers of Children Aged Under 5 with Diarrhea and Respiratory Tract Infections in an Urban Slum. Proceedings S.Z.M.C [Internet]. 2020 Dec. 3 [cited 2024 May 18];34(2):26-31. Available from: