Knowledge and perceptions of pharmacy students towards training in complementary and alternative health care

  • I Truter
Keywords: Complementary and Alternative Health Care (CAHC), pharmacy, South Africa, training, pharmacy curriculum


Complementary and Alternative Health Care (CAHC) is the primary source of health care for over 70% of the world's population. The aim was to determine the knowledge and perceptions of undergraduate pharmacy students towards CAHC, as well as to establish their training needs for CAHC. A questionnaire survey was conducted amongst undergraduate pharmacy students during October 2002 at a South African pharmacy school. A total of 160 questionnaires were analysed. Senior students more accurately defined CAHC than first-and second-year students. Twenty CAHC therapies were listed and participants were asked to firstly indicate their level of knowledge, and secondly, their usage of these therapies. They were most knowledgeable with respect to herbalism (95.0%), massage (90.6%), traditional African medicine (81.3%) and diet therapy (81.3%). Massage was the therapy most often used (58.1%), followed by herbalism (45.0%). Ayurveda, iridology, colonic irrigation and naturopathy were the least often used therapies. Participants indicated that CAHC should be included in the third and fourth year of the B Pharm degree. A need for undergraduate pharmacy students to be trained in the basic principles of CAHC, and for continuing education courses in CAHC, was identified. The current knowledge of pharmacy students regarding CAHC is inadequate.

Keywords: Complementary and Alternative Health Care (CAHC); pharmacy; South Africa; training; pharmacy curriculum

Health SA Gesondheid Vol. 10 (2) 2005: pp. 3-16

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2071-9736
print ISSN: 1025-9848