Traditional medication use among out-patients attending the eye clinic of a secondary health facility in Owerri, South-East Nigeria
Background: Traditional medicine practice is thriving in Nigeria. Proximity, easy accessibility, cost and increasing interest in natural products of plant origin are factors that have been implicated. Inappropriate and unregulated use of traditional medications can result in hazardous effects. Lately, the World Health Organization (WHO) has been helping nations to develop policies for the regulation of traditional medicine use.
Objective: This study aims at determining the pattern and prevalence of the use of traditional medication among out-patients attending the Eye Clinic of Imo State Specialist Hospital Owerri, Imo State, Nigeria. The study will provide useful data for patient management and the development of national health policies on traditional medicine practice.
Methodology: A prospective study using a pre-tested structured questionnaire was carried out in the Eye Clinic of Imo State Specialist Hospital Owerri during the period of study.
Results: Out of 202 subjects enumerated, 168 (83.2%) comprising of 72 (82.8%) males and 96 (83.5%) females have used traditional medication. The use of traditional medication was significantly associated with age and occupation, but, not with sex and education. Malaria (44.5%) was the most common reason for the use of traditional medication followed by ocular problems (20.6%). The most common type of this medication used was vegetable matter / herb (52%). There was an 89.5% positive response to counselling among the subjects.
Conclusion: The use of traditional medication was significantly associated with occupation and increasing age. Education had a positive influence on the attitude of the subjects; hence, education and regulation of traditional medication practice are recommended to curb the negative effects of inappropriate use. Medical practitioners should be aware of the prevalent use of traditional medications among patients, and the challenges they may pose in patient care.
Keywords: African, education, herbs, malaria, ocular problems