Prevalence and disposal of unused medicines among Households in Kawempe Division, Kampala Capital City Authority, Uganda
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ABSTRACT Background: Presence of unused medicines in households can lead to harmful health incidents such as prolonged morbidity due to ingestion of sub-optimal doses, wrong treatment or poisoning and yet there is insufficient data about categories, quantities and the disposal practices of unused medicines among households in Kampala Capital City Authority. Objective: To determine the prevalence and disposal practices of unused medicines among households in Kawempe division, Kampala Capital City Authority, Kampala Uganda. Methods: This was a cross sectional study. It was conducted among randomly selected households in Kawempe Division. Data were collected during April and May, 2016 using face to face interview method. Data was entered into Microsoft Excel (2007) and exported to STATA Version 12 (Stata Corp., College Station, TX, USA) software for analysis. Frequencies and proportions of unused medicines found in surveyed households were calculated. Factors associated with prevalence of unused medicines were determined using logistic regression models. Results: A total of 282 households in Kawempe Division, was surveyed. The mean age of respondents was 30 years (SD, 11.3) and the median of 28 years (range 18 to 65 years). Majority of respondents, 251 (96%) had obtained medicine for treating illnesses, with malaria being the most mentioned illness 106(43%). Unused medicines were present among 68% of the surveyed households. Majority of surveyed households 60 (33%) had analgesics (pain killers), followed by anti-bacterial agents 54 (29%), and the anti-histamine agents 20 (11%). The study revealed that there was no difference among households with unused medicines and those without unused medicines with regard to health systems and individual factors. Conclusion and recommendations: The prevalence of unused medicine among the households in Kawempe Division was high. The community needs education about the dangers of keeping unused medicines at home, so as to mitigate the health related risks of these medicines to humans and the environment.