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Prevalence and Determinants of Household Medication Storage During the COVID-19 Outbreak in Southwest Ethiopia.

BACKGROUND: Most households worldwide keep medicines on hand for various reasons, including emergency use, treatment of acute and chronic diseases, and anticipated future use. Being infected or fear of getting COVID-19 in the current pandemic could increase the storage of drugs at home. Thus, this study aimed to assess the prevalence of household storage of medicines and associated factors in southwest Ethiopia during the COVID-19 outbreak.

METHODS: A cross-sectional household survey was conducted from February 1 to May 30, 2022. Data on the extent of storage, storage conditions, their current status, disposal methods, among others, were collected through structured interviews and observations. The data were entered into EPI info, exported, and analyzed using Statistical Packages for Social Sciences (SPSS). Bivariate followed by multivariate logistic regression was used to identify associated factors. P-value <0.05 was used as a cut-off point to decide statistical significance.

RESULTS: The magnitude of household medication storage was 48% (95% CI). Analgesics (28.7%) and antibacterial (21.1%) agents were the most predominant class of drugs stored in the households. The most significant proportion of the home-stored medications (34.7%) was reserved for future use, and 31.8% were for treating current medical conditions. The majority of the respondents (84.1%) had never heard/learned about the safe disposal ways of drugs. The presence of children aged less than 5 years in a household [AOR = 1.90 (1.19, 3.05)] and the existence of chronically sick patients in a household [AOR = 4.3 (2.25, 8.45)] were factors significantly associated with household medication storage.

CONCLUSION: The current study revealed a high prevalence of home medication storage; thus, to lessen or eliminate the negative consequences of storing medications at home, it is necessary to review the medication utilization chain and offer community-based training on proper medication storage and disposal techniques, including establishing take-back programs.

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