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Type Thesis or Dissertation - Master of Science in Applied Epidemiology
Title Factors associated with use of herbal medicine among the residents of Gucha sub-county, Kenya
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2015
Medicinal plants have played a key role in world health in spite of great advances
observed in conventional medicine in recent decades, herbal medicine still make an
important contribution to health care. World Health Organization estimated that 80%
of the developing countries depend on herbal medicine to meet their healthcare
needs. Due to the increased use of herbal medicine, there is an urgent need for the
appropriate systems of quality control in the practice as well as in the production and
use of the medicines. The main objective of this study was to determine the factors
associated with utilization of herbal medicine among residents of Gucha Sub-county.
A cross-sectional study was carried out among 167 purposively selected patients
visiting herbal clinics in Gucha Sub-county. Semi-structured questionnaire was
administered to the patients and analyzed using Statistical Package for Social
Scientist (SPSS) version 20. In-depth interviews were conducted for selected key
informant which was was analyzed thematically. Of the 167 patients recruited into
the study, 68.9% prefer using herbal medicine. However, 67.7% of the respondents
occasionally visit conventional hospital for the same or different health conditions.
Respondents? reasons for taking herbal medication were varied and included reasons
such as herbs having better efficacy (83%) than conventional medicine, while 27.5%
believed that herbal medicines being natural are safe to use. Due to deeply rooted
cultural belief that herbal medicine treated certain diseases and maintained good
health, (6%) of the respondents preferred to use herbal medicine. The respondents
believed in better quality of service offered by the herbalists which was statistically
significant in the influence on respondents' choice of healthcare. The respondents
mainly used herbal medicine for stomach disorders (39.5%), measles (12.6%) and
malaria (8.4%). Relatives had a marked influence on 37.7% of the respondents using
herbal medicine while, media also played an important role in creating awareness.
An attitude toward using herbal medicines is predictor of the intention to use herbal
medicines. The community believes in the importance of herbal medicine for
maintaining health thus, positive attitude towards efficacy and safety of herbal
medicine. Further research on herbal medicine use in Gucha should be carried out in
order to establish the efficacy and safety of the medicines used by the community

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