Parent’s knowledge and management of their children’s ailments in Malaysia

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Omar T. Dawood
Mohamed I. Ibrahim
Subish Palaian


Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice, Parents, Malaysia


Minor ailments like sore throat, fever, cough and diarrhea can be relieved with over-the-counter (OTC) medications such as paracetamol or other traditional remedies, without seeking for consultation from general practitioners. Parents usually take the responsibility to come up with some kind of treatment for their children.

Objective: (1) to evaluate the parents’ medical knowledge about OTC medicines which are usually used by the parents to treat their children and (2) to evaluate the parents’ management in dealing with their children’s ailments, and (3) to evaluate the association between medical knowledge and the management of children’s ailments related to medicine use among the parents.

Methods: A cross-sectional survey was conducted to measure the parents’ knowledge about their children’s ailments. Subjects were selected and information was obtained in September 2008. Non-probability convenient sampling method was used. Parents were recruited from the general public to answer the questionnaires.

Results: 197 parents filled in the questionnaires. From the total respondents, 48.2% of them were male. This study showed that most respondents have medium knowledge (6.11 SD=3.6) and a moderate management (4.39 SD=2.7). The results showed that there is a significant difference between the knowledge and the management level of ailments (P=0.033). Regarding the education level of the parents and the socioeconomic status, the p-value showed there was a significant difference between parents’ knowledge and their education level (P=0.012).

Conclusion: This study showed that parents have inadequate knowledge and some misconception about how to go about treating their children when they are unwell. It is hoped that by identifying weak areas in parents’ management to their children’s ailments, better planned educational and behavioral modification efforts can be made to elevate the knowledge level among the parents when they medically treat their children.

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