Use of herbal medicine by caregivers in the management of children with sickle cell disease in Mulago National Referral Hospital - Uganda
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ABSTRACT Introduction: Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) is an inherited chronic disease and remains a global public health threat. Studies have reported use of complementary and alternative medicines in chronic diseases such as sickle cell. However, in Uganda, the extent to which herbal medicines are used in management of children with sickle cell disease has not been documented. This study was conducted to determine the prevalence of herbal medicine (HM) use and associated factors among caregivers of children with SCD at Mulago National Referral Hospital. Methodology: A descriptive cross-sectional quantitative study was conducted in March 2019 at Mulago Sickle cell clinic. A sample of 384 caretakers was consecutively recruited and a structured interviewer administered questionnaire was used to collect data from the caretakers. Data was managed using SPSS version 23. Multivariate logistic regression was used to identify the factors associated with HM use. Factors with p-value <0.05 were regarded significant. Results: In this study, 298 of 384 (77.6%) caregivers used herbal medicine. Multivariate analysis of the various factors associated with HM use revealed that the odds of a caregiver who agreed that HM cures symptoms faster than conventional medicine (CM) using HM were 3 times those of caregivers who disagree with this statement (AOR =3.439, 95% CI: 1.447 - 8.176). The odds that a caregiver who agreed that HM has fewer side effects than CM were almost 4 times those of caregivers who disagree with this statement (AOR =3.528, 95% CI: 1.917 -6.494). The odds that a caregiver who agreed that marketing HM through televisions adverts encourages HM use were 4 times those of caregivers who disagree with this statement (AOR =4.185, 95% CI:2.036 - 8.603). Conclusion: This study reports a high prevalence of HM use among caregivers of children with SCD. The practice is significantly influenced by caretakers’ perception that HM cures symptoms faster than CM, HM has fewer side effects than CM and the use of television adverts in marketing HM. More effort is therefore needed to explore the various perceptions caretakers have about HM and assessment of the various television adverts on HM for their credibility and authenticity. There is also need for studies to identify the common HM used so that their efficacy and safety are well studied.