Public knowledge and attitudes towards antibiotic usage: a cross-sectional study among the general public in the state of Penang, Malaysia

  • Ai Ling Oh Discipline of Clinical Pharmacy, School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia, 11800 Penang, Malaysia
  • Mohamed Azmi Hassali Discipline of Social and Administrative Pharmacy, School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia, 11800 Penang, Malaysia
  • Mahmoud Sadi Al-Haddad College of Pharmacy, Taif University, Taif, Saudi Arabia
  • Syed Azhar Syed Sulaiman Discipline of Clinical Pharmacy, School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia, 11800 Penang, Malaysia
  • Asrul Akmal Shafie Discipline of Social and Administrative Pharmacy, School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia, 11800 Penang, Malaysia
  • Ahmed Awaisu Clinical Pharmacy and Practice Section, College of Pharmacy, Qatar University, Doha, Qatar
Keywords: antibiotic usage, public knowledge, attitudes, Malaysia

Abstract

Introduction: Public knowledge and attitudes towards antibiotics play a vital role in the success of the treatment process. This study aimed to assess public knowledge and attitudes toward antibiotic usage which could serve as baseline data for future studies within a government hospital setting in Malaysia.

Methodology: A self-administered cross-sectional survey involving 408 respondents was conducted using a validated questionnaire at an outpatient pharmacy department in Penang Hospital, Malaysia, from February to March 2009.

Results: Nearly 55% of the respondents had a moderate level of knowledge. Three quarters of the respondents (76.7%) could correctly identify that antibiotics are indicated for the treatment of bacterial infections. However, 67.2% incorrectly thought that antibiotics are also used to treat viral infections. About 59.1% of the respondents were aware of antibiotic resistance phenomena in relation to overuse of antibiotics. With regard to attitudes, 38% believed that taking antibiotics when having cold symptoms could help them to recover faster, while 47.3% expected antibiotics to be prescribed for common cold symptoms. Age, race and educational level were among the demographic characteristics significantly associated with knowledge and attitudes toward antibiotic use. Poor level of knowledge was found in less than one-third of the respondents whereas more than one-third of the respondents wrongly self-medicate themselves with antibiotics once they have a cold.

Conclusion: Educational interventions are needed to promote prudent use of antibiotics among the public.

Published
2010-11-09
How to Cite
1.
Ling Oh A, Hassali MA, Al-Haddad MS, Syed Sulaiman SA, Shafie AA, Awaisu A (2010) Public knowledge and attitudes towards antibiotic usage: a cross-sectional study among the general public in the state of Penang, Malaysia. J Infect Dev Ctries 5:338-347. doi: 10.3855/jidc.1502
Section
Original Articles