Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine / 2021 / Article

Research Article | Open Access

Volume 2021 |Article ID 9962892 | https://doi.org/10.1155/2021/9962892

Belachew Umeta Chali, Abush Hasho, Nimona Berhanu Koricha, "Preference and Practice of Traditional Medicine and Associated Factors in Jimma Town, Southwest Ethiopia", Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, vol. 2021, Article ID 9962892, 7 pages, 2021. https://doi.org/10.1155/2021/9962892

Preference and Practice of Traditional Medicine and Associated Factors in Jimma Town, Southwest Ethiopia

Academic Editor: Yoshiki Mukudai
Received08 Mar 2021
Revised22 Apr 2021
Accepted21 May 2021
Published30 May 2021

Abstract

Background. Traditional medicine is the sum total of knowledge, talents, and practices that are used to uphold health, as well as to avert, identify, improve, or treat illnesses. Sociodemographic/economic characteristics, culture, and environment can influence the preference and practice of traditional medicine. Objective. To assess the preference and practices of traditional medicine and associated factors. Methods. A community-based cross-sectional study was conducted among 271 residents of Jimma town. The data were collected by interviewing selected households. The households were selected by a simple random sampling technique. The data were analysed using SPSS version 20. Descriptive statistics were used for organizing, describing, and summarizing the data. Chi-square (X2) test was used to identify factors associated with the preference and practice of traditional medicine. Results. More than half (221(81.5%)) of the participants practiced traditional medicine. Religion (X2 = 17.18; ), marital status (X2 = 15.42; ), occupation (X2 = 19.74; ), and educational level (X2 = 28.39; ) were the sociodemographic factors determining the use of traditional medicine. However, 25 (9.2%) of the participants preferred to use traditional medicine. Affordability (25 (100%)), religious affiliation (21 (84%)), and distance from home (20 (80%)) were some reasons for preference. Educational level (X2 = 15.56; ), marital status (X2 = 12.39; ), and occupation (X2 = 15.61; ) were the factors affecting their preference for traditional medicine. Conclusion. A majority of the participants practiced traditional medicine use. Religion, marital status, occupation, and educational level were factors affecting the practice of the participants. More than half of the participants did not prefer to use traditional medicine. Affordability, religious affiliation, and distance from home were some reasons for preferring traditional medicine.

1. Introduction

Traditional medicine, an art of treatment practices, strategies, knowledge, and beliefs including plant-, animal-, and mineral-based medicines, spiritual therapies, manual techniques, and workouts applied singularly or in combination to treat, identify, and prevent illnesses or uphold the well-being. Since ancient times, humans have been using natural products, such as plants, animals, microorganisms, and oceanic organisms, in remedies to prevent or treat illnesses [1, 2]. The recognition of these practices as standard healthcare possibilities will have an incredible influence in the cost of healthcare interventions, protective medicine, and self-healing [3, 4].

As to the WHO, 65–80% of the world’s healthcare practice includes the use of traditional medicine in some way [5]. There has been a continuing demand for and popular use of traditional medicine worldwide [6]. In some lower- and middle-income countries, traditional healers remain the only or main health providers for millions of people living in rural areas. For instance, the ratio of traditional health experts to the population in Africa is 1 : 500, while the ratio of physicians to the population is 1 : 40,000 [7].

In Africa, traditional medicine is part of the first set of response mechanisms for medical emergencies, whereas in others, the whole health system of the community relies on medicines embedded in indigenous practice and belief [8]. This is due to the fact that modern pharmaceuticals and medical procedures remain unreachable to a large number of African people due to their relatively high cost and concentration of health facilities in urban centers [9, 10].

Despite the high consideration given to the traditional medicine practice around the world, it seems to face noteworthy challenges [3]. The most important recognized challenge is the lack of a reference standard for determining the proper dosage of the traditional medicine for the patients. This in turn has resulted in the creation of incorrect and incomplete information about the traditional medicine drugs. Another very important challenge is the lack of national policy to manage and legalize the practice of using traditional medicine [11].

In the Ethiopian context, there seems to be no village, town, or city where traditional medicine is not involved in the delivery of healthcare since it is an integral part of the local culture and accessible to the majority of the population [12]. Contrary to its wide usage, traditional medicine in Ethiopia is not uniformly practiced. The users are considerably diverse and significantly vary between regions [13]. The standard policies and regulations governing traditional medicine are too weak. Instead, the users are associated with cultural beliefs. Subsequently, traditional medicine is an integral part of a community’s identity and value in that it is difficult to regulate through a nationwide framework concerning its safety and effectiveness using different medicine categorizations and descriptions [14, 15].

With regard to determinants of traditional medicine practice in Ethiopia, some literature studies hypothetically linked the affordability of traditional medicine to the fact of its use by up to 80% of the population, while others added deprived access to modern healthcare facilities [1618]. Cultural belief, monthly income, and religious belief have also been mentioned as determinants [17, 19]. Yet, there is still scarcity of information about the common preferable traditional medicine practices and reasons contributing to the link between traditional medicine practice and sociodemographic, economic, or individual difference and environmental factors.

Therefore, it is appropriate to assess the preference and practice of traditional medicine and its determinants and reasons for preferring the practices and possible factors behind the common traditional medicine being practiced among the community. So, the current study aimed to assess the preference and practice of traditional medicine and associated factors. The result of the study can be used as an input for policy makers and other stakeholders to identify and prepare directives to control and legalize the traditional medicine practices.

2. Materials and Methods

2.1. Study Area and Period

The study was conducted in Jimma town. The town is located at 352 km southwest of Addis Ababa, the capital city of Ethiopia. According to the Central Statistical Agency (CSA, 2007) report, the total population of the town was 120,960, of whom 60,824 were males. A total of 32,191 households were present in the town [20]. According to the data from the Jimma Zone Health Bureau, there are five public health centers, one medical center, and two general hospitals. The study was conducted from November to December 2020.

2.2. Study Design

It is community-based cross-sectional study design.

2.3. Participants and Sampling Procedure

The sample size was determined using the simple population proportion formula for the cross-sectional study, n = Z2P (1−P)/d2, where P = 80% prevalence of traditional medicine use [18] and Z = 1.96 is the value under the standard normal table for the confidence level of 95%, margin of error 5%, and nonresponse rate of 10%. Finally, 271 households were used as a sample size, and adults older than 18 years and lived for at least 6 months were included in the study. Parents who are unable to give the required information due to any reason were excluded from the study. Priority was given for mothers and fathers, and if they are unavailable during data collection, any individual older than 18 years was included.

2.4. Data Collection Tools and Techniques

A pretested, structured questionnaire was adopted from a previously conducted study with some modifications based on the local context [18, 19]. The pretest was conducted on 5% nonsampled respondents to check the validity, reliability, and clarity of the questionnaire. The questionnaire was prepared in English. It consists of the following parts: baseline information (age, sex, ethnicity, religion, marital status, occupation, educational level, and monthly income), the practice of traditional medicine (ever heard of traditional medicine before, current use of TM, frequency of use, behavior of users to inform their physicians, safe to mix TM with modern medicine, common types of traditional medicine used, by whom traditional medicine was practiced, and from whom information was obtained about traditional medicine use), and preference (preference between traditional and modern medicine and reason for the preference of traditional medicine). Data were collected using structured interview questionnaires. The list of all households in the town was obtained from the Jimma town Administration Office. The list was arranged in the ascending order according to the registration number given for each house by the town administration. Finally, a simple random sampling technique was used to select the required quantity of households. Trained graduating pharmacy students collected the data.

2.5. Data Processing and Analysis

The data were entered and cleaned by using Epi Info software and exported to SPSS version 20 for further analysis. Descriptive statistics were used for organizing, describing, and summarizing the data. Chi-square (X2) was used to check the association of independent variables with the dependent variable. value <0.05 was used to declare the significant association.

2.6. Ethical Consideration

The study protocol was reviewed and approved by the Ethical Review Committee of Jimma University (JU). The Ethical Review Committee of Jimma University accepted and approved verbal informed consent. Verbal informed consent was obtained from the participants after the purpose and methods of the study had been explained in detail, and all of their responses were kept confidential and anonymous.

3. Results

3.1. Sociodemographic Characteristics

A majority of the respondents were females and married. More than half of the respondents were Muslims. More than half of the participants had a monthly income of <2000 birr which is about 50.1 USD (Table 1).


Sociodemographic characteristicsClassificationFrequencyPercentage (%)

Age18–279535.1
28–378230.3
38–473713.7
48–573312.2
>57248.9

SexMale12044.3
Female15155.7

EthnicityOromo21880.4
Amhara3111.4
Gurage62.2
Tigre2.7
Othersa145.2

ReligionMuslim15557.2
Orthodox6624.4
Protestant4717.3
Othersb31.1

Marital statusSingle6222.9
Married19772.7
Divorced93.3
Widowed31.1

OccupationFarmer5319.6
Government worker3713.7
Housewife/husband5721.0
Private business owner5118.8
Student3211.8
Daily worker217.7
Othersc207.4

Educational levelNot read and write5821.4
7–127427.3
Read and write6222.9
>126222.9
1–6155.5

Monthly family income<200010639.1
2001–38005520.3
3801–60007025.8
6001–10,0003111.4
>1000093.3

aSilte, Dawro, and Yem. bWaaqeffannaa and catholic. cCarpenter and driver.
3.2. Practice of Traditional Medicine

The prevalence of TM practice was 211 (81.5%). Of those who practiced traditional medicine, 160 (72.4%) of them informed their physician about the traditional medicine they used. 184 (83.3%) of them reported that they only have symptomatic relief after the use of traditional medicine. More than half (120 (54.3%)) of the respondents obtained information on the use, benefit, and efficacy of traditional medicine from their family members. The common ailments for which traditional medicine was used were cough, headache, and intestinal/stomach infections. The majority of the participants reported that medical herbs (118 (54.4%)) are the commonly used traditional medicine type. Most (137 (62%)) of the participants did not check the safety of traditional medicine when they used it in combination with a prescription drug, and 141 (63.8%) of the participants obtained traditional medicine they used from traditional medicine healer (Table 2).


Have you heard of traditional medicine? (n = 271)
FrequencyPercentage (%)

Yes26999.3
No20.7

Traditional medicine practice (n = 271)
Yes22181.5
No5018.5

Types of ailments
Cold/influenza/cough13360.2
Headache11049.8
Stomach/intestinal infections8638.9
Others@3415.4

How frequently have you used traditional medicine? (n = 221)
Daily10.5
Often52.3
Sometimes12456.1
When unwell9141.2

Behavior of users of traditional medicine to inform their physicians (n = 221)
Yes16072.4
No6127.6

If you took traditional medicine whilst on prescription medicine, did you check it was safe to mix? (n = 221)
Yes8438.0
No13762.0

Outcome of using traditional medicine for the management of ailments (n = 221)
Symptomatic relief18483.3
Permanent cure3515.8
No change20.9

Common types of traditional medicines used (n = 221)
Medical herbs11853.4
Faith healer/holy water9141.2
Bone setter52.3
Medical herbs and holy water31.4
Medical herbs, holy water, and bone setter41.8

Sources of information about traditional medicine use (n = 221)
Family12054.3
Friends9643.4
Healthcare practitioners52.3

By whom traditional medicine was practiced? (n = 221)
Traditional medicine healer14163.8
Elderly104.5
Mother and father7031.7

@Fever, hypertension, and arteritis/joint pain.
3.3. Preference of the Community for the Management of Different Ailments for the Future

The majority (204 (75.3%)) of them preferred modern medicine, and only 25 (9.2%) of the participants preferred the use of traditional medicine for any types of ailments. The reasons for the preference of traditional medicine were affordability (25 (100.0%)) and religious affiliation (21 (84.0%)) (Table 3).


PreferenceFrequencyPercentage (%)

Traditional medicine259.2
Modern medicine20475.3
Both4215.5

Reason for the preference of traditional medicine (N = 25)
Religious affiliations2184.0
Therapeutic effectiveness2080.0
Affordability25100.0
Distance from home2080.0
Cultural influence1456.0

The respondents respond more than one response, so the percentage might be greater than 100%.
3.4. Factors Affecting the Practice and Preference of Traditional Medicine

Religion, marital status, occupation, and educational level were the factors affecting the practice of traditional medicine in the study area. Marital status, occupation, and educational level were the sociodemographic characteristics affecting their preference (Table 4).


VariablesPracticeTest statistics valuePreferenceTest statistics value
YesNoTMMMBoth

Sex
Male10020X2 = 0.650.4279716X2 = 4.220.12
Female120311810726

Ethnicity
Oromo18236X2 = 6.620.162315738X2 = 10.380.24
Amhara2471273
Tigre11011
Gurage62060
Othersa751130

Religion
Muslims13817X2 = 15.880.0011711028X2 = 6.520.37
Protestants31163395
Orthodox49174599
Othersb21110

Marital status
Married17126X2 = 14.920.0022113937X2 = 12.390.05
Single41213545
Divorced63090
Widowed21120

Occupation
Farmer503X2 = 19.950.001103211X2 = 15.610.05
Government employee25121324
Housewife/husband5348409
Private workers39122427
Othersc53204584

Educational level
Not read and write535X2 = 26.54<0.0019345X2 = 15.560.04
Read and write5578468
1–61411122
7–12611355811
>1237252546

aSilte, Dawro, and Yem. bWaaqeffannaa and catholic. cCarpenter and driver.

4. Discussion

In this study, the practice of traditional medicine was 81.5%. The finding was higher than the study conducted in North Central Ethiopia [21] which states that the practice of traditional medicine use is 35.8%. However, the practice is lower than the study conducted in Burka Jato Kebele, West Ethiopia [22], in which 92.22% of the participants rely on traditional medicine. The discrepancy might be due to the sample size difference and accessibility of health facilities. And it is almost comparable with the study conducted in Shoba Bultum, Southwest Ethiopia [19], in which 79.47% of the participants practice traditional medicine use. From those participants who used traditional medicines, 72.4% of the participants reported to their physicians that they used traditional medicine, and 83.4% of them felt that traditional medicine use for the management of different ailments only gives symptomatic relief.

Around fifty-four percent of the participants had information about the use of traditional medicine for different ailments from their family, and the most common traditional medicine used was medical herbs (53.4%), and the finding was similar to the study conducted in North Central, West, and Southeast Ethiopia [2123]. The most common ailments for which the community uses those traditional medicines were cold/influenza/cough, headache, and intestinal infections.

In this study, 75.3% of the participants prefer to use modern medicine for any type of ailments. The report value was smaller than the study conducted in North Central and Southeast Ethiopia [21, 23] in which 69.7% and 75.52% of the participants prefer to use traditional medicines. The dissimilarity might be due to the social, cultural, and economic difference of study areas.

Different factors affected the practice of traditional medicine in the study area, from which religion, marital status, and occupation were the factors determining the practice of traditional medicine in the study area. This might be due to community perception for some diseases to be cured by traditional medicine only [22]. The other factors affecting the practice of traditional medicine were marital status and occupation. The cost to use traditional and modern medicines is different and cheap for traditional medicine use which might be the reason for the association. The report was comparable with the study conducted in Northwest Ethiopia which indicated the relationships of occupations with knowledge, attitude, and practice of traditional medicine [18] and the study conducted in Burka Jato Kebele which reported the significance relationship between the income and practice of traditional medicine [22].

Only 9.2% of the participants preferred to use traditional medicine. The figure was different from previous studies [22, 23] which reported that 31.85% and 28.8% of the participants preferred to use traditional medicine. This difference might be due to the difference in the selection of the study site as the current study was conducted in the urban population. According to the present study, religious affiliation, therapeutic effectiveness, affordability, distance from home, and culture were reasons of the studied community to prefer traditional medicine. The finding of the study was comparable with the study conducted in Burka Jato Kebele [22]. The study conducted in Wayu, Western Ethiopia, also reported that the effectiveness of traditional medicine was the reason for preference [24]. The study also reported that there is a significant relationship between the marital status and the preference of the participants for the healthcare service in the future.

5. Conclusion

The majority of the participants practiced traditional medicine use. More than half of the participants did not prefer to use traditional medicine. Affordability, religious affiliation, distance from home, therapeutic effectiveness, and cultural influence were reasons for preferring traditional medicine. Marital status, occupation, religion, and educational level were determinants of the preference and practice of traditional medicine.

6. Limitations of the Study

Relatively small sample size, being cross-sectional in design, single site, and inclusion of only urban population were the main limitations of the study.

Data Availability

The data used to support the findings of this study are included within the article.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Authors’ Contributions

AH proposed and designed the study. BU implemented the study. BU and NB performed the statistical analysis and read, critically commented, and prepared the final manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Acknowledgments

The authors would like to acknowledge Jimma University, Jimma town Administration Office, data collectors, and participants for their unreserved assistance. The current work was funded by Jimma University.

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Copyright © 2021 Belachew Umeta Chali et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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