An analysis of the use of African traditional medicine by adult patients attending a primary health care clinic in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal.
Background: Current evidence indicates that more and more people worldwide are using complementary and alternate medicines. About 80% of people in Africa and Asia have been reported to be using traditional medicines in preference to allopathic medicines.1 Aim: The study intended to evaluate the prevalence and practice of using traditional medicines by a cohort of patients accessing a local state-clinic located in a semi-urban area in KwaZulu-Natal. Methodology: All patients attending the chosen local primary health care clinic in Durban South formed the sample population and a systematic random sampling method was used to determine the study sample. Data were analysed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) -version 19. Results: A total of 299 patients participated in the study. Of these, 224 were female, 73 male and 2 were unspecified. The majority of participants (n=109) were in the age group 20-29 years. The study found that 112(37%) of all participants admitted to the use of African traditional medicines and the majority of these (78%) used them because they expected their illnesses to improve. Conclusion: This study was conducted among Black African study subjects in a predominantly Black African suburb in South Africa; the study results may have been influenced by this bias. A larger study using a bigger and perhaps more diverse study population is recommended to validate the findings shown in the above pilot study.