Factors Influencing Facility-Based Herbal Medicine Use Among Adults at Outpatient Department of the Eastern Regional Hospital, Koforidua
Keywords:adult, alternative medicine, Ghana, herbal medicine, hospital-based, outpatient department
World Health Organization estimates that eighty percent of populations in developing countries and over three-quarters of Ghanaians depend on herbal medicine (HM) for primary healthcare. Studies on factors that influence HM use among patients in hospital-based treatment system is rare, especially in Ghana. This study sought to determine factors influencing HM use among adults at the Eastern Regional Hospital (ERH) - which offers both conventional and HM services in Ghana. Findings of this research contribute to knowledge on factors associated with HM use in hospital setting, for better HM integration by policymaking and interventions and a holistic healthcare towards the achievement of universal health coverage. Descriptive cross-sectional study was conducted among 413 adults who sought healthcare at adult outpatient department of ERH. Semi-structured questionnaire was used to collect data on socio-demographic background and factors influencing HM use. Data were analyzed using Stata Version 16. Factors associated with HM use was determined using simple and multiple logistic regression, with statistical significance set at 5%.
The HM utilization at ERH was 5.6%. Radio (4.8%) and poster (4.8%) were major media factors accounting for HM use. Likewise, friends/family recommendation (23.8%) and effectiveness of HM (21.4%) were major individual factors. Major health system factors were less waiting time (14.3%) and easy access to herbal practitioners (9.5%). The odds of using HM was high among higher monthly income earners (p<0.01), and after adjusting for confounders was found to be 3.94 (95% CI: 1.01-15.40) times higher than lower income earners. In conclusion, there was low prevalence of HM utilization at ERH, with high income earners being more likely to use HM. There is urgent need to reduce or remove barriers, including cost, hindering access and utilization of HM in integrated facilities, especially, for low-income earners.
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