Antibiotic use in an urban informal settlement : a case study of daily wage earners in Namuwongo, Makindye Division, Kampala District
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Introduction: Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a growing global threat as AMR threatens the effectiveness of all classes of antibiotics. Uganda, has over time introduced successive generations of antibiotics mainly to deal with declining efficacy of previous antibiotics. Research suggests that antibiotics use in Uganda is widespread yet access is not restricted. In order to begin to address AMR, it is important to understand the practices surrounding the use of antibiotics, especially in settings such as informal settlements characterized by high infection rates where dependency and use patterns are likely to be high. This study, therefore, explored antibiotic use among daily wage earners in Namuwongo informal settlement, Kampala District, Uganda. Methodology: The research was conducted in the 7 zones of Namuwongo Informal Settlement. The study population comprised of daily wage earners who had lived in the settlement for at least 6 months prior to the study. Data was collected using structured questionnaires and topic guides. Analysis was done using STATA 13 and QSR Nvivo 11. Results: Antibiotics commonly used were metronidazole, ampicillin and amoxicillin. Medicines commonly stored in households included medicines for cough/flu, diarrhoea, stomach problems, painkillers and antimalarials. A majority of 78% was able to access the medicines they needed and the dosage of antibiotics taken depended on money available. Residents were inclined to taking medicines they knew and had successfully used in the past. Antibiotics were generally described as efficacious if they removed or reduced certain symptoms or illness for which they were taken. Conclusion: Medicines were generally accessible and a wide variety of antibiotics are used in the settlement for treatment. The use of antibiotics is largely dependent on money available. Infection prevention is a key strategy for interventions aimed at scaling back antibiotic use.