Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices Toward Traditional and Complementary Medicine Among Nurses and Midwives in North-Western Uganda

Yayi Alfred, Omona Kizito


Background: Traditional and complementary medicine is globally accepted and steadily gaining popularity among populations. The practices of conventional health care workers toward it vary from one country or setting to another. Limited literature exists on practices of health workers towards this form of medicine in low income settings especially in Africa where it is widely used with limited collaboration, integration and regulation.

Purpose: To determine the prevalence and determinants of traditional and complementary medicine practices as well as health problems and reasons for its use among nurses and midwives in North Western Uganda.

Materials & Methods: We used a descriptive and analytical cross-sectional design. Data was collected using self-administered structured questionnaires that were distributed to a sample of 300 nurses and midwives drawn from 6 hospitals. Descriptive statistics, chi squared and multiple binary logistic regression analysis were used for analysis.

Results: Of all the respondents, 147 (54.9%) had personally ever used traditional and complementary medicine, 69 (25.7%) had personally used it in the past 12 months, 84 (31.3%) had ever recommended use of TCM. The most commonly used therapies were: herbalism (78.2%), traditional birth attendance (67.3%), nutritional supplements (67.3%), body massage (53.1%), spiritualism (24.5%), traditional dentistry (21.1%) and traditional bone setting (14.3%). Traditional and complementary medicine was mainly used for pain management (53.1%) followed by acute diseases (49.6%). The commonest reasons given for use were the fact that it is readily available, accessible and cheap. Chi square analysis showed statistically significant associations between TCM practices (personal use and recommendation to others) and respondents religion (p=0.046), location of hospital (p=0.002), presence of a family member who is a TCM provider (p=0.001), attendance of training on TCM in the years of work (p=0.001), provision of TCM as a business and duration of years served as a health professional (p=0.029).

Conclusions: There is need to improve traditional and complementary medicine practices amongst nurses, midwives and other health care professionals. This will avert the negative/undesired effects in the community.

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International Journal of Studies in Nursing  ISSN 2424-9653 (Print)  ISSN 2529-7317 (Online)

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