FACTORS ASSOCIATED WITH HERBAL MEDICINE USE IN CHILDREN 0- 12 YEARS OLD: A CASE OF BONCHARI SUB COUNTY, KISII COUNTY, KENYA
Ngiti, Jackline G.
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Reports indicate that more than 80% of the world population relies on herbal medicine (WHO, 2013). This study examined herbal medicine use practice including factors associated with its use in children 0-12 years in Bonchari Sub County, Kisii County, Kenya. The specific objectives of the study were to identify the types of herbal medicines used in children in Bonchari Sub County, determine information sources utilized, explore factors contributing to herbal medicine use in children and determine the associated outcome of using herbal remedies in children. The research design used was case study design. Purposive sampling was used to include all the 30 parents/ guardians who presented at Kisii Level five hospital with a history of herbal medicine use on their children in 2014/2015. Semi structured, interviewer administered questionnaires were used to collect data. Data was analysed both quantitatively and qualitatively. Quantitative data was analysed using statistical package for social scientists (SPSS) version 21.0 while in qualitative analysis, thematic analysis was done. Findings revealed that there were a number of herbs used in children in Bonchari Sub County, with the most common being Spilanthes Mauritiana used to treat oral candidiasis (22.22%). The most common source of information on herbal medicine were the grandmothers (55.56%). Conviction that conventional medicine would not treat was the leading factor in the use of herbal medicine in children (40.74 %). Other reasons were that herbs are commonly used in the area (33.33 %), and herbs are easily available (25.93 %). Out of the 27 respondents who were interviewed, 20 of them (74 %) had children who developed serious complications after using herbal medicine. None of the respondents informed iiitheir medical practitioner that their child was on herbal medicine and none of the medical practitioners bothered to ask during regular visits. This study points to a belief system on herbs as the common treatment mainstream in the region making scientific study a necessity that will help us determine the beneficial and harmful herbs and advice the community accordingly. The results of this study further suggest that training on traditional medicine practice should be incorporated in the training of medical students and traditional healers should be officially sensitized by the Ministry of health on herbal medicine use practice so as to minimize the dangers that come with unregulated herbal medicine practices.