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Type of herbal medicines utilized by pregnant women attending ante-natal clinic in Offinso north district: Are orthodox prescribers aware?

Y Adusi-Poku
L Vanotoo
EK Detoh
J Oduro
RB Nsiah
AZ Natogmah


Background: There is scanty data on the usage and safety of herbal medicines in pregnancy and breast feeding. Though they may be efficacious on account of their long experience of usage, effects of these herbal preparations and the extent of usage in pregnancy and breastfeeding are not known. There were anecdotal claims of herbal medicine usage in pregnancy in Offinso North District.
Objective: To determine the prevalence and the pattern of herbal medicine usage among pregnant women attending ANC in all the health facilities in Offinso North District and to determine the level of awareness of healthcare givers about these herbal medicines.
Design: Cross-sectional study.
Method: A standardized structured questionnaire was administered to pregnant women attending antenatal clinics in the Offinso North district.
Results: Age of respondents ranged from 15-49 years among which 25 (6.5%) took herbal medicines through varying routes of administration. High usage was found amongst those married and also with no formal and basic education and a median age of 25 years. Awareness of orthodox health practitioners about these herbal medicines was scanty.
Conclusions: The study emphasized the use of herbal medicines particularly through some unconventional mode of preparations by pregnant women in Offinso North. Orthodox practitioners' awareness of their usage was found to be inadequate, highlighting an urgent need for health care practitioners and other health care givers to be aware of this practice and make efforts in obtaining information about herb use during ante-natal care.

Key Words: Herbal Medicines; Pregnancy; Ghana, Sub-Saharan Africa.

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print ISSN: 0016-9560