HERBAL MEDICINES: ALTERNATIVES TO ORTHODOX MEDICINES IN EZEAGU AND NSUKKA COMMUNITIES IN ENUGU STATE, NIGERIA
AbstractReports show that in-patient and out-patient hospital attendance declined from 45,000 in 1980 to just 25,000 in 1985. This work sought to establish the factors responsible for the dwindling patronage. A total of 255 respondents were randomly selected for the survey that used questionnaire to elicit information. Data were analyzed using simple frequencies and percentage tables. The Chi-square test was used to test the hypotheses. Findings revealed, among others, that the most common ailment in these communities is malaria, use of herbs is common in these communities, reasons for use of herbs depend on the nature of the ailment, belief in herbal option is widespread, males are more inclined to the use of herbs than women, using herbal medicine is believed to be less expensive than orthodox medicine, hospital/health centres are widely known to be available within less than 1km. Recommendations include creating awareness on efficacy of herbal medicines in order to encourgae their use, facilitating the formation of clusters among herbal practitioners for collective impact, enhancing sustainability of the commendable indigenous health practices, and craetion of databank for herbal use, healer skills and cultural resources in Nigeria.
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