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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 31  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 417-423

Prevalence and determinants of herbal medicine use among adults attending the national health insurance clinic of abubakar tafawa balewa university teaching hospital, Bauchi, Nigeria

Department of Family Medicine, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Teaching Hospital, Bauchi, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Afisulahi Abiodun Maiyegun
Department of Family Medicine, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Teaching Hospital, Bauchi
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/NJM.NJM_41_22

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Background: The use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is growing worldwide, with herbal medicine often the most common CAM, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa. For optimal patient care, the clinician should know what other medications patients use and why. While many studies have been done on herbal medicine use in the general population, studies on this topic among insured patients in Nigeria are scanty, at best. Thus, there is a need for more researches in this area. Aim: This study aimed to assess the use of herbal medicine among patients enrolled in the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS). Patients, Materials and Methods: The participants were adult patients (at least 18 years old), of both genders, attending the NHIS Clinic of Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Teaching Hospital, Bauchi. This was an analytical, cross-sectional study. Participants were selected by systematic random sampling. Very sick patients and those who refused to grant consent to the study were exempted. Only seven declined, giving a response rate of 98.1% (364/371). An interviewer-administered questionnaire was used to collect information on participants' biodata and the use of herbal medicine. The study was done from October 1, 2020 to December 23, 2020 over 12 weeks. Results: The lifetime prevalence of herbal medicine use was 76.65%. The most common herbs used were moringa (47.31%), garlic (46.95%), ginger (38.71%), lemon (36.20%), and black seed (33.69%). Most of the participants (67.4%) used herbs for treatment, and the main reason for use was their effectiveness (61.3%). Over a third of participants combined herbs and orthodox medicine, and 82.44% never told their doctors they used herbs. Marital status of the study participants was the only variable associated with herbal medicine use (P = 0.022 at 95% confidence level). Conclusion: Patients in the NHIS use herbal medicine, though the point prevalence is relatively lower than in uninsured patients. Hence, doctors should be careful to enquire about the herbs these patients use and counsel them appropriately.

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