Doctor Daniel Tumwine, a medical expert and the team leader at MedXpo Africa has warned of the dangers of self-medication among patients in Uganda.
Dr. Tumwine said during the launch of the first medical expo, which aims at bridging knowledge and healthcare accessibility between healthcare facilities, healthcare professionals and the public.
Self-medication is a form of self-care commonly used to manage symptoms of minor illnesses or injuries, the practice of self-treatment for serious health conditions, such as mental health conditions, has many risks.
It is a global phenomenon practiced by an estimated 32.5% to 81.5% of the population, and in Uganda, it was reported to be 22.2% at Mulago National Referral Hospital and 63.5% among students at Mbarara University of Science and Technology.
“What people don’t know is that every drug is a poison. The safest drug in the world is Panadol but even itself is a poison. Every drug has a side effect. Self-medication is something we don’t tend to encourage,” he said.
He said that if you have symptoms, please visit the health facility because self-medication is dangerous. You can miss diagnose and the more you miss diagnose, the less are the chances to respond to appropriate drugs for that particular ailment.
“We also want like discouraging internet doctors. You need to be examined. You need someone to be in front of the doctor who understands your condition, listens to that chest, touches that abdomen looks through your ears, and then prescribes drugs for you,” he said.
Dr Tumwine said one of the important things that he has found for the last 16 years he has been practicing, is that many Ugandans lack medical knowledge. We have gaps in access to medical knowledge. And yet all of us are either consumers or potential consumers.
“There is a hospital in Entebbe that gives free treatment for children with surgical conditions for free. If you have a neurological issue in the head, there’s a world-class hospital that also gives free treatment in Mbale and other facilities, but why is it that the masses don’t know about it?” he asked.
The Medical Information Expo will be held at Logogo UMA showgrounds from September 7-9. He said during the expo, there will experts in obstetrics, pediatrics, hypertension, cardiology nutrition and others who will give medical information and free screening for some ailments.
“We want to bridge that gap by bringing health workers, and health institutions, to the masses,” he said.
Laila Noor from MedXpo Africa said more than 50 eminent and diverse healthcare professionals, over 40 reputable hospitals and healthcare institutions from across the country and 100 health products and service exhibitors will take part in the Expo.