Prevalence of traditional medicine use among patients attending the diabetic clinic at Mulago national referral hospital-Kiruddu
Kasango, Simon Dembe
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Introduction: There is some evidence that patients with diabetes use complementary and alternative remedies to address general and diabetes-disease specific health concerns. Data on the efficacy and safety of traditional medicines used for treating diabetes is still a challenge in Uganda. Objective: To establish the prevalence of use of herbal medicine among adults diagnosed with diabetes attending Mulago National Referral Hospital, in order to generate evidence to inform management of diabetes in Uganda. Methods: A hospital-based cross-sectional study was conducted among 352 patients with diabetes attending the diabetes clinic in Mulago National Referral Hospital. Data on prevalence, classification and reasons for traditional medicine use was collected using standardized questionnaires, key informant interviews and focus group discussions. Modified Poisson regression analyses were used to examine factors associated with use. Results: Overall, 31 % (109/352) of the study participants reported they had used traditional medicines. Reasons related to of use of traditional medicine were easy access to TM, household member’s recommendations, repeated marketing by herbalists and the mass media which played a big role in persuading individuals to use traditional medicine Conclusions The study showed that herbal medicine is widely used among patients diagnosed with diabetes in Uganda. Other drivers of use of TM from qualitative data analysis were easy access to TM, household members’ recommendations, repeated marketing by herbalists and the mass media which played a big role in persuading individuals to use traditional medicine Recommendations It is therefore important that health professionals routinely inquire from patients with diabetes about past or current use of traditional medicines. Advertising of herbal products in markets and public spaces should only be allowed for registered products whose safety and efficacy has been verified by the NDA.