ASSOCIATION BETWEEN KNOWLEDGE, ATTITUDE, AND UTILIZATION OF NATURAL REMEDIES TO CURE INFECTIOUS DISEASES AMONG NAROK RESIDENTS, NAROK COUNTY, KENYA
Nyabuto, Henry Gori
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Natural remedies have been used globally as an intervention in the management, healing and prevention of disease. Some have been used as a stand-alone medicine or alongside western medicines depending on the nature of the disease. In some parts of Africa and Kenya specifically, there are communities that have also been using the natural remedies including the Maasai communities in Narok county. Narok town has grown to be a cosmopolitan community, and hence it is not clear whether natural remedies are still being utilized in these regions. Therefore, this study was aimed to explore the association between knowledge, attitude, and utilization of natural remedies to cure infectious diseases among Narok county residents. This study employed a cross-sectional study design, and data was collected from a sample of three hundred and eighty-one people who were residents of Narok town using a self-administered closed-ended questionnaire. The data was analysed using negative binomial regression models to explore the associations in STATA version 13.1. The Incidence rate ratios (IRR) and the 95% confidence interval (CI) were reported in the tables. The results of this study show the majority of the respondents knew most of the natural remedies including garlic (81.9%), ginger (85.1%), honey (96.6%), rosemary (58.6%), aloe (89.8%) and blackjack (63.1%), but in the utilization there was slightly reduction in proportions of those who were utilizing. The most commonly utilized natural remedies were honey, aloe, ginger, garlic and wheatgrass juice. After adjusting for all the potential confounders, those who had moderate knowledge (IRR = 1.47; 95% CI: 1.26 – 1.71) and high knowledge (IRR = 2.16; 95% CI: 1.83 – 2.55) were more likely to utilize natural remedies than those with low knowledge. On the relationship between attitude and utilization of natural remedies, those who indicated that they will keep using the remedies in the future (IRR = 1.20; 95% CI: 0.98 – 1.48, p < 0.10) and believed that the natural remedies can be used to cure (IRR = 1.33; 95% CI: 1.14 – 1.57) and prevent (IRR = 1.22; 95% CI: 1.04 – 1.44) infectious diseases were at a higher rate of utilization than the reference groups before adjusting for the potential confounders, but after adjustment, the differences attenuated. In conclusion, this study found a relationship between knowledge and utilization of natural remedies to cure infectious diseases. However, despite the respondents having knowledge about several natural remedies under investigation, their utilization was slightly reduced when compared with the knowledge percentage. But at least most respondents had utilized more than five natural remedies that were under research. As people are utilizing the natural remedies, health education and health promotion on the safe ways of preparation, storage and utilization is therefore very necessary in order to avoid negative health and side effect that might be associated with some natural remedies. Proper documentation of these alternative medicine should also be encouraged.