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1.  Traditional and Alternative Therapy for Mental Illness in Jamaica: Patients' Conceptions and Practitioners' Attitudes 
The aim of this study was to investigate traditional and alternative therapy for mental illness in Jamaica: patients' conceptions and practitioners' attitudes. The sample included 60 psychiatric patients selected from Ward 21 at the University of the West Indies, Kingston as well as Princess Margaret outpatient clinic, and 30 Afro-centric psychiatric nurses, psychiatrist and clinical psychologists from Kingston and St. Thomas, Jamaica. Patients were interviewed with the Short Explanatory Model Interview (SEMI) and practitioners completed a self administered questionnaire on attitudes towards traditional and alternative medicine. Results indicate that among psychiatric patients more than a third expressed the belief that the overall cause of their mental illness was as a result of supernatural factors. In general, the majority of patients felt that their perception of their problems did not concur with the western practitioner, which in turn caused distress for these patients. In case for those who also sought traditional medicine, they were more inclined to feel pleased about their interaction and the treatment they received. Results from western trained practitioners found that although they acknowledged that traditional medicine plays a major role in the treatment of mental illness among psychiatric patients the treatment was not advantageous. For the most part when all three traditional approaches were examined alternative medicine seemed more favourable than traditional healing and traditional herbal treatment. There is a need to develop models of collaboration that promote a workable relationship between the two healing systems in treating mental illness.
PMCID: PMC3746535  PMID: 23983326
Psychiatric patients; psychiatric practitioners; conceptions of illness; attitude; traditional medicine; alternative medicine; Jamaica
2.  Antiretrovirals and the Use of Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicine by HIV Patients in Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa: A Longitudinal Study 
The aim of this prospective study (20 months) was to assess HIV patients' use of Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicine (TCAM) and its effect on ARV adherence at three public hospitals in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Seven hundred and thirty-five (29.8% male and 70.2% female) patients who consecutively attended three HIV clinics completed assessments prior to ARV initiation, 519 after 6 months, 557 after 12 and 499 after 20 months on antiretroviral therapy (ART). Results indicate that following initiation of ARV therapy the use of herbal therapies for HIV declined significantly from 36.6% prior to ARV therapy to 8.0% after 6 months, 4.1% after 12 months and 0.6% after 20 months on ARVs. Faith healing methods (including spiritual practices and prayer) declined from 35.8% to 22.1%, 20.8% and 15.5%, respectively. In contrast, the use of micronutrients (vitamins, etc.) significantly increased from 42.6% to 78.2%. The major herbal remedies that were used prior to ART were unnamed traditional medicine, followed by imbiza (Scilla natalensis planch), canova (immune booster), izifozonke (essential vitamins mixed with herbs), African potato (Hypoxis hemerocallidea), stametta (aloe mixed with vitamins and herbs) and ingwe (tonic). Herbal remedies were mainly used for pain relief, as immune booster and for stopping diarrhea. As herbal treatment for HIV was associated with reduced ARV adherence, patient's use of TCAM should be considered in ARV adherence management.
PMCID: PMC3218455  PMID: 22654209
Traditional; complementary; alternative medicine; antiretroviral treatment adherence; prospective study; HIV patients; KwaZulu-Natal; South Africa
3.  Traditional Complementary and Alternative Medicine and Antiretroviral Treatment Adherence Among HIV Patients in Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa 
Adherence to antiretroviral medication in the treatment of HIV is critical, both to maximize efficacy and to minimize the emergence of drug resistance. The aim of this prospective study in three public hospitals in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, is to assess the use of Traditional Complementary and Alternative Medicine (TCAM) by HIV patients and its effect on antiretroviral (ARV) adherence 6 months after initiating ARVs. 735 (29.8% male and 70.2% female) patients who consecutively attended three HIV clinics completed assessments prior to ARV initiation and 519 after six months on antiretroviral therapy (ART) Results indicate that the use of herbal therapies for HIV declined significantly from 36.6% prior to antiretroviral treatment (ART) initiation to 7.9% after being on ARVs for 6 months. Faith healing methods, including spiritual practices and prayer for HIV declined from 35.8% to 22.1% and physical/body-mind therapy (exercise and massage) declined from 5.0% to 1.9%. In contrast, the use of micronutrients (vitamins, etc.) significantly increased from 42.6% to 87.4%. In multivariate regression analyses, ARV non-adherence (dose, schedule and food) was associated with the use of herbal treatment, not taking micronutrients and the use of over-the-counter drugs. The use of TCAM declined after initiating ARVs. As herbal treatment for HIV was associated with reduced ARV adherence, patients' use of TCAM should be considered in ARV adherence management.
PMCID: PMC3021154  PMID: 21304624
Traditional; complementary; alternative medicine; antiretroviral treatment adherence; HIV patients; KwaZulu-Natal; South Africa
4.  Evaluation of a Safer Male Circumcision Training Programme for Ndebele Traditional Surgeons and Nurses in Gauteng, South Africa: Using Direct Observation of Circumcision Procedures 
The aim of this study was to assess the safety of traditional male circumcision practices among Ndebele traditional surgeons following a five days training by direct observation of circumcision procedures. The sample included eight Ndebele traditional surgeons and traditional nurses and 86 initiates (abakhwetwa) from two districts in Gauteng province in South Africa. A structured observations tool was administered by a trained research doctor during circumcisions and (wound) care of the initiates of the trained traditional surgeons. Results indicate that from the observations of 86 traditional male circumcisions a high number (37%) of adverse events were recorded (excessive bleeding, excessive skin removed and damage to the penis) and in six cases the use of one instrument for the circumcision was observed. Before scaling up and/or considering integration traditional male circumcision services into medical male circumcision services in South Africa, a careful strategy to minimize unnecessary morbidity, and fundamental improvements on current traditional male circumcision techniques, are required. In addition, legislation and control of traditional male circumcision in Gauteng province, where the study took place, are recommended to make traditional male circumcision safer and to prevent adverse events to happen.
PMCID: PMC3021160  PMID: 21304627
5.  Utilization and Practice of Traditional/Complementary/Alternative Medicine (TM/CAM) in South Africa 
The aim of this study was to conduct a systematic review of published and unpublished research investigating the prevalence of traditional, complementary and alternative medicine (TMCAM) use in the general population. Results found that use of a traditional and/or faith healer seemed to have decreased over the past 13 years (from a range of 3.6–12.7% to 0.1%). The prevalence of traditional male circumcision was found to be 24.8% generally and 31.9% among the African Black racial group. The range of use of alternative and complementary medicine was from 0% to 2.2%. Local utilization surveys of TMCAM for the last illness episode or in the past year showed a variation in use of 6.1% to 38.5%. The prevalence of conditions treated at different TMCAM out-patients settings ranged from chronic conditions, complex of supernatural or psychosocial problems, mental illness, chronic conditions, acute conditions, generalized pain, HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. TM and probably CAM is used by substantial proportions of the general population, but differences in study design and methodological limitations make it difficult to compare prevalence estimates.
PMCID: PMC2816568  PMID: 20209010
Utilization; prevalence; traditional medicine; complementary medicine; alternative medicine; South Africa
6.  Use of Traditional and Complementary Health Practices in Prenatal, Delivery and Postnatal Care in the Context of HIV Transmission from Mother to Child (PMTCT) in the Eastern Cape, South Africa 
The aim of this study was as part of a baseline assessment in PMTCT in the traditional health sector: a) to determine the views of women who have used the services of traditional practitioners before, during and/or after pregnancy, and b) to conduct formative research with traditional health practitioners (THPs), i.e. herbalists, diviners and traditional birth attendants (TBAs) on HIV, pregnancy care, delivery and infant care. The sample included a) 181 postnatal care clients with a child less than 12 months interviewed at postnatal clinic visits from 20 primary care clinics in the Kouga Local Service Area (LSA), Cacadu district, Eastern Cape, and b) 54 traditional birth attendants (TBAs) and 47 herbalists and/or diviners were interviewed from Kouga LSA. Results showed that THP (in particular TBAs and to a certain extend herbalists/diviners) play a significant role in pregnancy and postnatal care, and also with the assistance of delivery. Certain HIV risk practices were reported on the practice of TBAs. THPs also seem to have some role in infant feeding and family planning. THPs should be trained in optimising their services in pregnancy and postnatal care, and preparation for health facility delivery. In addition, they should be trained on HIV risk practices, HIV/AIDS, HIV prevention including PMTCT, infant feeding and family planning.
PMCID: PMC2816562  PMID: 20209007
Traditional medicine; traditional practices; complementary medicine; prenatal care; postnatal care; delivery; infant care; HIV; PMTCT; Eastern Cape; South Africa
7.  Evaluation of a Safer Male Circumcision Training Programme for Traditional Surgeons and Nurses in the Eastern Cape, South Africa 
Training designed to improve circumcision knowledge, attitude and practice was delivered over 5 days to 34 traditional surgeons and 49 traditional nurses in the Eastern Cape, South Africa. Training included the following topics: initiation rites; statutory regulation of traditional male circumcision and initiation into Manhood (TCIM); structure and function of the male sex organs; procedure of safe circumcision, infection control; sexually transmitted infections (STIs); HIV/AIDS; infection control measures; aftercare of the initiate including after care of the circumcision wound and initiate as a whole; detection and early management of common complications of circumcision; nutrition and fluid management; code of conduct and ethics; and sexual health education. The evaluation of the training consisted of a prospective assessment of knowledge and attitude immediately prior to and after training. Significant improvement in knowledge and/or attitudes was observed in legal aspects, STI, HIV and environmental aspects, attitudes in terms of improved collaboration with biomedical health care providers, normal and abnormal anatomy and physiology, sexually transmitted infections and including HIV, circumcision practice and aftercare of initiates. We concluded that safer circumcision training can be successfully delivered to traditional surgeons and nurses.
PMCID: PMC2816586  PMID: 20161956
Evaluation; training programme; safer male circumcision; knowledge; attitudes; traditional surgeons; traditional nurses; Eastern Cape; South Africa
8.  Patients Consulting Traditional Health Practioners in the Context of HIV/AIDS in Urban Areas in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa 
The purpose of this study is to assess patients consulting full-time traditional health practitioners (THPs) and the practice of THPs after they had been trained on Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)/ Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) prevention and care. The sample included 222 patients interviewed when exiting a THP's practice (n=17) in purposefully chosen two urban sites in KwaZulu-Natal. Results indicate that at post training evaluation the majority of the THPs were involved in HIV/STI management and most had low levels of HIV risk practices at the workplace. Major self-reported reasons for consulting the THP included a complex of supernatural or psychosocial problems, chronic conditions, acute conditions, generalized pain, HIV and other STIs. Overall, patients including HIV positive (n=18) patients had moderate knowledge of Antiretroviral Therapy (ART). A number of HIV positive patients were using traditional medicine and ART concurrently, dropped out of ART because of side effects and were using traditional medicine for HIV.
PMCID: PMC2816585  PMID: 20161959
Patients; traditional health practitioners; HIV/AIDS management; KwaZulu-Natal; South Africa
9.  Traditional Healers and Nurses: A Qualitative Study on Their Role on Sexually Transmitted Infections Including HIV and AIDS in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa 
The aim of this study was to investigate the role of traditional healers in sexually transmitted infections including HIV/AIDS and collaboration between the traditional and biomedical health care systems as seen by nurses and traditional healers. A convenient sample of 15 professional nurses and 15 traditional healers were interviewed using a semi-structured questionnaire. Qualitative analyses identified the following themes: (1) attitude and respect, (2) collaboration between traditional healers and nurses, (3) control/regulation of (traditional) health practices, (4) training needs of healers and nurses. The main results indicated that the professional nurses had mixed attitudes towards traditional healers, mostly negative (e.g. lacked training, used expired medicines, gave improper dosages, and kept poor or no records), but, also positive, such as contributing to the management of opportunistic infections (STIs). The traditional healers also had mixed attitudes towards nurses. The traditional healers believed that nurses undermined their work (did not accept their efficacy in treatment and consequently did not refer patients). Notably, most of the traditional healers were willing to learn and refer patients to clinics and hospitals, while this was not true for the nurses.
PMCID: PMC2816575  PMID: 20161960
Attitudes; traditional healers; nurses; collaboration; sexually transmitted infections; HIV/AIDS; KwaZulu-Natal; South Africa

Results 1-9 (9)