Social and economic factors influencing the patronage and use of complementary and alternative medicine in Enugu
Traditional Medicine (TM) or Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) covers approaches to medical treatment that are outside of mainstream medical training. Different herbal products abound and they are flagrantly advertised with claims of their ability to cure all diseases. The objective was to survey how safety, reliability, effectiveness, availability, cost, and other socioeconomic factors influence use and patronage of TM as well as check which common diseases are being treated and how the patient felt after the use of TM. A cross sectional communitybased survey using 21-item questionnaire consisting of socio-demographic and stem questions that have been standardized and validated for reliability of response. Four hundred questionnaires were randomly distributed and 300 (75%) were returned and analyzed. 203(68%) of respondents claimed they use TM while 93(31%) claimed they do not. Majority of respondents [108(57.9%)] were 21-40 years old, 26(12.7%) were within 41-50 and 40(19.7%) above 50years. There were 117 females and 86 males. 26(12.7%) of the respondents had at least primary education, while 16% used traditional medicine because it is cheaper and 31.3% because it is believed to cure many diseases. Malaria treatment 128(33%) was highest followed by typhoid 79(20.5%), sexually transmitted disease 31(8.1%), diabetes 25 (6.0%) and infertility 25(6.2%). Malaria and typhoid were the highest co-morbid infection treated with TM. Socio-economic factors such as cost, effectiveness, availability, safety of the product, educational level, average monthly income, age and sex affect the patronage and use of traditional medicine.
Keywords: Complementary and alternative medicine, traditional medicine, herbs, socio-economics,