Self-medication practices in Khartoum State, Sudan

  • Abdelmoneim Ismail AwadEmail author
  • Idris Babiker Eltayeb
  • Phillip A. Capps
Pharmacoepidemiology and Prescription



The aim of this study was to estimate the prevalence of self-medication with proprietary medicines and herbs in Khartoum State, Sudan, and to evaluate factors associated with self-medication.


A pre-piloted questionnaire was used to collect data from a sample of 1,200 individuals, selected from all three cities of Khartoum State using a multistage stratified clustered sampling.


The response rate was 83.3%. Medicines, including herbs, were used by 81.8% of the respondents without a medical consultation within 2 months prior to the study period. Proprietary medicines alone were used by 28.3% (CI: 25.6–31.2), herbs alone by 20.7% (CI: 18.3–23.4), while 32.8% (CI: 29.9–35.8) had used both. Self-medication with proprietary medicines was least common with the middle-aged (OR: 0.12; 0.09–0.17), the elderly (OR: 0.29; 0.20–0.42) and low level of education [illiterate (OR: 0.26, 0.18–0.37) and primary/intermediate school (OR: 0.07, 0.04–0.11)]. It was most associated with low (OR: 5.3; 3.8–7.4) and middle income (OR: 4.3; 3.1–5.9), but no gender difference was found (P>0.05). Self-medication behaviour with herbs was most associated with middle-age (OR: 1.7; 1.3–2.2), female gender (OR: 2.2 (1.7–2.8) and lowest income earners (OR: 2.5; 1.9–3.5).


The prevalence of self-medication with medicines including herbs in urban areas of Khartoum State is high. Self-medication behaviour varies significantly with a number of socio-economic characteristics. Our findings have major public health policy implications for countries like Sudan.


Herbs Proprietary medicines Self-medication Sudan 



We owe a tremendous amount of gratitude to those who participated in the data collection and without their great efforts this work would not have been achieved. We would like also to thank Dr Eman Abu-Hussain for her advice and assistance in the statistical analysis of the data.


  1. 1.
    World Health Organization (2000) Guidelines for the regulatory assessment of medicinal products for use in self-medication. WHO/EDM/QSM/00.1Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Sclafer J, Slamet L, Visscher G (1997) Appropriateness of self-medication: method development and testing in urban Indonesia. J Clin Pharm Ther 22:261–272CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Nokes K, Prince RJ, Achieng R, Aagaard-Hansen J, Ouma J (2000) Children and medicines: self-treatment of common illnesses among Luo schoolchildren in western Kenya. Soc Sci Med 50:1771–1783CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Hamel MJ, Odhacha A, Roberts JM, et al (2001) Malaria control in Bungoma District, Kenya: a survey of home treatment of children with fever, bed net use and attendance at antenatal clinics. Bull WHO 79:1014–1023PubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    World Health Organization (2002) Promoting rational use of medicines: core components. WHO policy perspectives on medicines. WHO/EDM/2002.3Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    United Nations Development Program (2004) The human development report 2004. UNDP, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    World Health Organization (2005) Country profiles-Sudan.
  8. 8.
    Woodward M (2004) Epidemiology: study design and data analysis 2 edn. Chapman & Hall/CRC Press, Boca Raton, Fla., USAGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    World Health Organization (2001) Global strategy for containment of antimicrobial resistance. WHO Communicable Disease Surveillance and Response (CSR). WHO/CDS/CSR/DRS/2001.2Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Okeke IN, Lamikanra A, Edelman R (1999) Socioeconomic and behavioral factors leading to acquired bacterial resistance to antibiotics in developing countries. Emerg Infect Dis 5:18–27PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Elzubier AG, Ansari EHH, El-Nour MHJ (1997) Knowledge and misconceptions about malaria among secondary school students and teachers in Kassala, Eastern Sudan. R Soc Health 117:381–385CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 13.
    Abbas B. Ethnovetinary practices in Butana, Northeastern Sudan. DHP Publications series, no 4, Addis Ababa: Organisation for Social Science Research in Eastern and Southern Africa (OSSREA).
  13. 14.
    Batanouny KH (1999) Wild medicinal plants in Egypt: an inventory to support conservation and sustainable use. Academy of scientific research and technology, Egypt; International Union for Conservation (IUCN).
  14. 15.
    Plants for a future database.
  15. 16.
    Crop index, centre for new crops and plants products, Purdue University.
  16. 17.
    Mahmoud MA, Khidir MO, Khalifa MA, El Ahmadi AMB, Musnad HAR, Mohamed, ETI (1996) Sudan: country report to the FAO international technical conference on plant genetic resources.
  17. 18.
  18. 19.
    Mahmoud BM, Ali HM, Homeida MM, Bennet JL (1994) Significant reduction in chloroquine bioavailability following co-administration with the Sudanese beverages Aradaib, Karkadi and Lemon. J Antimicrob Chemother 33:1005–1009PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 20.
    Haji Faraji M, Haji Tarkhani A (1996) The effect of sour tea (Hibiscus sabdariffa) on essential hypertension. J Ethnopharmacol 65:231–236CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 21.
    Herrera-Arellano A, Flores-Romero S, Chavez-Soto MA, Tortoriello J (2004) Effectiveness and tolerability of a standardized extract from Hibiscus sabdariffa in patients with mild to moderate hypertension: a controlled and randomized clinical trial. Phytomedicine 11:375–382CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. 22.
    Randhawa MA, Al-Ghamdi MS (2002) A review of the pharmaco-therapeutic effects of Nigella sativa. Pakistan J Med Res 41:77–83Google Scholar
  22. 23.
    Abdel-Barry JA, Abdel-Hassan IA, Jawad AM, Al-Hakiem MHH (2000) Hypoglycaemic effect of aqueous extract of the leaves of Trigonella foenum-graecum in healthy volunteers. East Mediterr Health J 6:83–88PubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. 24.
    Gupta A, Gupta R, Lal B (2001) Effect of Trigonella foenum-graecum (fenugreek) seeds on glycaemic control and insulin resistance in type 2 diabetes mellitus: a double-blind, placebo-controlled study. J Assoc Physicians India 49:1057–1061PubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. 25.
    Sharma RD, Raghuram TC, Rao NS (1990) Effect of fenugreek seeds on blood glucose and serum lipids in type I diabetes. Eur J Clin Nutr 44:301–306PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Abdelmoneim Ismail Awad
    • 1
    Email author
  • Idris Babiker Eltayeb
    • 2
  • Phillip A. Capps
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Pharmacy Practice, Faculty of PharmacyKuwait UniversitySafatKuwait
  2. 2.Department of Pharmacology, Faculty of PharmacyUniversity of KhartoumKhartoumSudan

Personalised recommendations