Pattern of herbal medicine utilization among secondary school students
Background: The use of traditional herbs and remedies are relatively common and the understanding of the rationale for health choices among adolescent will enable health care practitioners to guide them in the selection of efficient and safe health care options. This study assessed the pattern of utilization of herbal concoctions among secondary students.
Methods: This is a descriptive cross sectional study of both junior secondary (JSS) and senior secondary (SSS) students were interviewed using a pretested semi- structured questionnaire.
Results: About half of the respondents were females 196 (50.3%) and the majority 252 (64.5%) of the students were 15 years and below. Most 352 (90%) of the respondents were aware of herbal drugs and the prevalence of herbal use is 88.1%. The most common source of herbal drugs 229 (74%) is the herbal drugs hawkers. The majority (53.4%) of the students who use herbal drugs used it to prevent illness. The main ailments for which herbal drugs were used were fever (85%) and hemorrhoids (13.1%). About a third 102(32.9%) combines herbal drugs with orthodox drugs. The majority of the students who utilize herbal drugs 193 (62.3%) preferred it to orthodox drugs and 71(38.4%)of these students responded that herbal drug is more effective. There is no statistically significant association between age, gender of students, educational level of sponsor and utilization of herbal drugs(p>0.05). However, there is a statistically significant association between ethnic group, religion and utilization of herbal drugs(p<0.05).
Conclusion: Herbal drugs utilization among the students is very high and many of the students combine it with orthodox drugs. The school health programme should be strengthened and the students guided in the health care decision making process.
Keywords: Herbal medicines, Students, Utilization, Unorthodox medicines