Original Research

Reasons given by hypertensive patients for concurrently using traditional and Western medicine at Natalspruit Hospital in the Gauteng Province, South Africa

Atileombolo A. Lotika, Langalibalele H. Mabuza, Henry I. Okonta
African Journal of Primary Health Care & Family Medicine | Vol 5, No 1 | a458 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/phcfm.v5i1.458 | © 2013 Atileombolo A. Lotika, Langalibalele H. Mabuza, Henry I. Okonta | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 16 May 2012 | Published: 31 May 2013

About the author(s)

Atileombolo A. Lotika, Family Medicine and Primary Health Care, Natalspruit Hospital, South Africa
Langalibalele H. Mabuza, Family Medicine and Primary Health Care, University of Limpopo, South Africa
Henry I. Okonta, Family Medicine and Primary Health Care, University of Limpopo, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: In 2007, a large number of hypertensive patients seen at Natalspruit Hospital had poor adherent to their anti-hypertension treatment which manifested itself through poor blood pressure control. On enquiry, they revealed that they were also taking traditional medicines.

Objectives: To explore the reasons given by hypertensive patients for concurrently using traditional and Western medicine.

Methods: A qualitative study was conducted amongst nine purposefully selected participants attending treatment at the hospital. Interviews were conducted in the Southern Sotho and IsiZulu languages and were audio-taped. The exploratory question was: ‘Would you tell us why you are taking traditional medicine together with the antihypertensive medicine your arereceiving at this hospital?’ The transcribed and translated transcriptions were analysed using the ‘cut and paste’ method to identify themes.

Results: Themes that emerged were that traditional medicine was readily accessible; traditional healers displayed knowledge and confidence in their medicine; traditional medicine was perceived to counteract the side-effects of western medicine; the two streams were perceived to complement each other and both streams could lead to a ‘cure’. Patients were disappointed at the perceived bad attitude of the hospital staff.

Conclusion: The reasons given by hypertensive patients for their concurrent use of traditional and Western medicine centred around patients’ relatively favourable perception of traditional medicine and its practitioners. Western medicine health care practitioners should continue health education on antihypertensive medication in a manner acceptable to patients.


Keywords

hypertensive patients, traditional medicine, western medicine, anti-hypertensive medication, Natalspruit Hospital

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