The use of traditional medicine practitioners for childhood illness in sub-Saharan Africa
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National Centre for Naturopathic medicine Southern Cross University Southern Cross University "Military Road Lismore, New South Wales, Australia 2480" Australia
National Centre for Naturopathic Medicine, Faculty of Health, Southern Cross University, Lismore, NSW, 2480, Australia
African Population and Health Research Center African Population and Health Research Center "Manga Close, Kirawa Road Nairobi, Kenya" Kenya
World Health Organisation office for Africa World Health Organisation office for Africa Brazzaville, Congo Congo
College of Medicine and Allied Sciences, University of Sierra Leone
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Baltimore, MD 21205, USA United States
Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Gulu University GuLu University Pece-Laroo Division, Gulu, Uganda Uganda
Publication date: 2023-04-26
Popul. Med. 2023;5(Supplement):A1113
We utilized extracted Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) data collected between 2010 and 2021 among 353,463 under-fives children from 32 SSA countries. Our outcome variable was the use of TMP for childhood illnesses (diarrhea or fever/cough or both). We used STATA v14 to conduct meta-analysis and two-level multivariable modeling.

Approximately [2.80% (95%CI: 1.88-3.90)] women who sought healthcare for childhood illnesses utilised the service of a TMP with the highest in Ivory coast [16.3% (95%CI: 13.87-19.06)] followed by Guinea (13.80% (95%CI: 10.74-17.57)] to the lowest in Sierra Leone [0.10%(95%CI:0.01-1.61)]. Women with no formal education [AOR=1.62;95%CI:1.23-2.12], no media access [AOR=1.19;95%CI:1.02-1.39), who lived in a household headed by a man [AOR=1.64;95%CI:1.27-2.11], without health insurance [AOR=2.37;95%CI: 1.53-3.66], who considered it a problem getting permission to visit a health facility [AOR=1.23;95%CI:1.03-1.47] and perceived the size of their children at birth to be above average[AOR=1.20;95%CI:1.03-1.41] had higher odds of using TMP for childhood illness.

Despite the low usage of TMP for childhood illness, our findings highlight that TMPs continue to have a role in managing childhood illness in SSA. It is essential that policymakers and service providers consider the potential role of TMPs in designing, reviewing and implementing child health policies and interventions in SSA. Also, child health policies and interventions should be focused on the characteristics of women who use TMPs for childhood diseases identified in our study.

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