PUBLIC’S PREFERENCES IN MANAGING MINOR ILLNESSES: A CROSS SECTIONAL SURVEY IN MALAYSIA
It was reported that 15% of emergency department visits and 20% of general practitioner visits are estimated to be minor illness. While it was reported that Malaysians’ preferred to visit a doctor to receive consultation for health problems, studies also showed high prevalence on the use of over-the-counter medications to self-treat minor illness. This study aims to explore public’s preferences in managing minor illnesses. A cross-sectional study was carried out via distribution of self-administered questionnaires among Malaysian public at three states: Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya from September to October 2019. 384 participants were conveniently sampled at the public places. Choice of visiting a doctor was the most common in eye infections (72.1%) and piles (67.9%). Choice of using medicines at home was the most common in minor cuts or burns (52.2%), pain conditions (36.6%) and respiratory conditions (25.1%). Participants with good knowledge on minor illness management were more likely to choose to self-treat or get advice from pharmacist for respiratory conditions (p = 0.017), gastrointestinal conditions (p = 0.016), pain conditions (p <0.001), and fever (p = 0.001). 73.8% of the participants had practiced self-treating minor illnesses within the last 6 months. Participants with tertiary education level and income of MYR5000 (USD1189.91) and above were more likely to self-treat minor illness. Malaysians with higher self-reported knowledge level towards minor illness are more prone to practice self-treat or seek advice from pharmacists, while those with tertiary education and monthly income > MYR5000 (USD1189.91) are more prone to practice self-treat for minor illness.
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