Factors Influencing Monitoring Of Usage Of Herbal Medicine In Kenya: A Case Of Meru County, Kenya
The use of herbal medicinal products and supplements has increased tremendously over the past three decades with not less than 80% of people worldwide relying on them for some part of primary healthcare especially in developing countries. Although therapies involving these agents have shown promising potential with the efficacy of a good number of herbal products clearly established, many of them remain untested and their use are either poorly monitored or not even monitored at all. These therapies are extensively used by patients as adjuvant or as replacement treatment to the conventional prescribed drugs. More so, herbal medicine use in Kenya is amplified by the presence of traditional healers with estimates of one traditional healer present per xiv every 200 people. Therefore this study intended to examine the factors influencing monitoring of herbal medicine usage in Kenya. The study focused on; regulatory status of herbal medicine usage, lack of knowledge on herbal medicine, quality control of herbal medicine and beliefs on efficacy of herbal medicine. The study used a descriptive survey design and the theoretical framework of this study was Green and Kreuret’s precede-precede model. The study focused on all the 67 registered herbal medicine practitioners in Meru County. The researcher conducted a census by focusing on all the 67 registered herbal medicine practitioners in Meru County.The data was collected using face to face structured interviews, focus group discussion and data analyzed using SPSS version 21. The findings were analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistics which were presented in tabular form. The results showed that herbal products are sold as herbal medicine (56.1%), dietary supplement (21.2%), food (13.6%) or functional food (9.1%). Market regulations of herbal products are good (59. 1%) and ensure that the welfare of seller and buyer is taken care of. Majority of practitioners (71.2%) have good knowledge on herbal medicine but only a few pharmacists (39.4%) and physicians (36.3%) have adequate knowledgeable on herbal medicine usage. The administration of herbal medicine is well documented (56.1%) but monitoring of herbal products by their patients is poor (37.9%). Majority of practitioners (63.6%) are aware of the source of raw materials, how raw materials are cultivated. The findings of this study hopefully will be beneficial to policy makers in the health status, in understanding the factors that hinder monitoring of herbal medicine usage. The study will also be helpful to herbal medicine practitioners in understanding the factors that affect monitoring of herbal medicine. They will understand what they need to do in order to enhance monitoring of herbal medicine usage. The study findings will be useful to future scholars as it will add to the existing body of knowledge.
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