BACKGROUND OF STUDY
The present unprecedented global upsurge of interest in alternative medicine (herbal) is perhaps a measure of a more realistic perception of the limitations of orthodox medicines in terms of cost, accessibility, effectiveness and safety. There is this widely held view that over 80% of people in developing countries use herbal medicine as their first line of choice in the treatment of diseases. (Osemene, Elujoba & Ilori, 2011).
Saunders (2005) defined orthodox medicine as the science of diagnosing and treating or preventing disease and any other damage to the body or mind. It is also the non surgical means of treating disease. Osemene, et al (2011) stated that the public pay high prices for orthodox medicine because the cost for experimental techniques through research and development is enormous. Another common perception is that orthodox medicine which is scientifically based is more reliable, safer and more effective.
According to Borkan and Jeffrey (2012), alternative medicine refers to any practice (not included in the degree courses of established medical schools), that is put forward as having healing effects of medicine, but is not based on evidence gathered with the scientific method, when used independently or in place of medicine based on science. Personal enabling factors which make people use alternative therapies include such things as knowledge of available services, referrals to a particular practitioner, a convenient location, and a level of income that will permit them to pay for treatment and for private health insurance. People typically use alternative care to help alleviate chronic conditions rather than acute or life threatening illnesses. The main ones tend to be musculoskeletal, allergies, arthritis and stress related conditions such as headaches, anxiety and digestive problems (Kelner, Welsh & Boon 2004).
According to Cassileth and Den (2004), forms of alternative medicines that are biologically active can be dangerous even when used in conjunction with conventional (orthodox) medicine. Examples include immune augmentation therapy, shark cartilage, bio-resonance therapy, oxygen and ozone therapies, and insulin potentiating therapy. Some herbal drugs can cause dangerous interactions with chemotherapy drugs, radiation therapy, or anesthetics during surgery, among other problems. Alternative therapies are divided into alternative medical systems, mind body interventions, biologically based therapies, manipulative and body based methods, and energy therapies (NCCAM 2006).
Herbal medicine products are dietary supplements that people take to improve their health. Herb is a plant or plant part used for its scent, flavour or its aphetic properties and many herbs have been used for a long time for claimed health benefits. Herbs could be in form of tablets, capsules, powders, teas, extracts and fresh or dried plants (National institute of health, 2012).
The use of alternative therapy is rampant in the developing world which Nigeria is an example; factors responsible for this could be traced to lack of adequate awareness on the availability and accessibility of orthodox medicine, poverty and lack of information on the adverse effect of these alternative therapies.
STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
Numerous natural compounds are, in fact poisonous (e.g. cyanide) and natural compounds that have health benefits often have a narrow therapeutic index (meaning the amount that brings benefit is less than the amount that causes toxicity, making it alarmingly easy for their use to cause harm). Alternative therapies (herbs) are always abused due to the fact that there is no specific measurement or dosage to be taken, therefore causing intoxication. Also, when there is a reaction or side effect to an alternative therapy, there is no adequate antidote which can be used to reverse the reaction. It is against this backdrop the researcher is interested in researching on factors influencing preference for alternative therapies to orthodox medicine among commercial drivers at ring road in Benin City.
OBJECTIVES OF STUDY
- To identify the factors influencing preference for alternative therapies (herbal) to orthodox medicine among commercial drivers at ring road in Benin City.
- To find out the level of utilization of alternative therapies to orthodox medicine among commercial drivers at ring road in Benin City.
- To identify forms of alternative medicine that commercial drivers at ring road in Benin City use.
SIGNIFICANCE OF STUDY
This study helps:
- To provide adequate information on measures to promote the use of orthodox medicine among commercial drivers.
- Commercial drivers to appreciate the use of orthodox medicine because it has undergone scientific and reliable process.
- Commercial drivers to realize that an alternative therapy may not work for them for the fact that it relieved symptoms in or worked for a friend or fellow driver.
- Nurses and other health care providers as key guidelines for health educating commercial drivers and other members of the public on the advantages of orthodox medicine over alternative therapies.
- What are the factors influencing preference of alternative therapies to orthodox medicine among commercial drivers?
- What is the level of utilization of alternative therapies to orthodox medicine among commercial drivers?
- What are the forms of alternative medicine used by commercial drivers?
- What are the reasons for commercial drivers’ preference of alternative medicine to orthodox medicine?
SCOPE OF STUDY/DELIMITATION
The study was restricted to commercial drivers at ring road in Benin City.
DEFINITION OF TERMS
- Factors: One or several things that cause or influence commercial drivers at ring road in Benin City to prefer the use of alternative therapies.
- Influence: The effect of alternative therapies on the way commercial drivers at ring road in Benin City think or behave.
- Preference: A greater desire for alternative therapies than orthodox medicine by commercial drivers at ring road in Benin City.
- Alternative therapy: Is the use of herbs and other health care practices, products and therapies that are not included in the degree courses of established medical schools by commercial drivers at ring road in Benin City.
- Orthodox Medicine: It is the use of drugs and operations to cure and treat illness among commercial drivers at ring road in Benin City.
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