THE USE OF TRADITIONAL MEDICINE IN THE TREATMENT OF MALARIA AMONG PREGNANT WOMEN IN ABRAKA DELTA STATE
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1.1 Background of the study
Malaria is a deadly parasitic disease transmitted by female Anopheles mosquitoes. In Nigeria, malaria is responsible for about 60% of ambulatory visits to health facilities, 30% of child deaths, 25% of deaths of children under one year of age and 11% of maternal deaths (Commission Noland et al., 2014). Similarly, about 70% of pregnant women suffer from malaria, which contributes to maternal anemia, low birth weight, stillbirths, abortions and other complications related to pregnancy (Federal Ministry of Health Abuja , 2005). Currently, malaria remains one of the worst threats of tropical countries in the world. It is a deadly and debilitating disease that affects the physical and economic well-being of people living in endemic areas of Africa (WHO, 2008). Pregnant women are part of the high-risk group (Okwa, 2003). A recent global estimate shows that there are between 300 and 500 million clinical cases of malaria and between 1.50 and 2.70 million deaths annually attributed to malaria (Greenwood, 2005). Pregnant women are at immense risk of malaria because of natural immune depression during pregnancy (Fievet, 2008). As a result, it is one of the most important health problems affecting pregnant women as it may endanger the life of the woman or fetus (WHO, 2010).
Traditional herbal medicine may be described as “herbs, medicinal plants, herbal preparations and herbal finished products whose contents include active ingredients of plants, or other plant materials, or combinations” . Herbal medicines may be in the form of liquids, powder, capsules, tablets or ointments. Some are prepackaged while others are prepared when needed and are used not only to cure the disease, but also to maintain or improve health (WHO, 2002). In Africa, dependence on medicinal plants is relatively high and the worldwide use of herbal medicine is growing. Most pregnant women believe that these medications are “natural” and “safe” compared to modern medications. In addition, traditional medicine is thought to treat medical problems and improve health status during pregnancy, birth and postpartum care in many rural areas (Khadivzadeh and Ghabel, 2012).
Erhun, Agbani and Adesanya (2004) have chosen that many pregnant women involved in such a practice acquire the knowledge of relatives, neighbors, friends, traffickers of traditional medicines and sometimes the media (Shah, 2004). The situation is predominant due to limited antenatal care centers and defective functional health facilities (Rohra, 2008); poor medical services and attitude of medical staff; the lack of professional control of pharmaceuticals (Abrahams and Jewkes, 2002); and the high level of illiteracy and the cost of synthetic malaria medicine compared to traditional orthodox medicines (Dossou-Yov, 2001).
In addition, several factors such as; women’s socio-economic status, poverty issues, cultural perception, age, sex, income level, religion and the entity’s belief in certain diseases and their perceived responses to indigenous drugs have been widely reported as indicators (WHO, 2002); Therefore, traditional herbal medicines to treat malaria have become standard and are widely practiced and frequented by pregnant women due to ease of access, social and cultural influences, perceived efficacy and beliefs about his safety (Langloid-Klassen, 2007). Kyomuhendo (2005) noted that pregnant women’s decisions about health and prenatal care are influenced by the patriarchal system of society that gives men control over resources to the detriment of women. This study therefore aims to examine the use of traditional medicine in the treatment of malaria in pregnant women in Abraka, Delta State, Nigeria.
STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Malaria infection during pregnancy is a major public health problem in the tropical and subtropical regions of the world and Nigeria in particular. Malaria infection syndrome is mainly caused by Plasmodium falciparum, the most common malaria species in Africa (WHO, 2010). Pregnant women and idle children are particularly vulnerable to malaria, which is a major cause of prenatal mortality, low birth weight, and maternal anemia (Greenwood, 2007). Malaria during birth has been associated with the risk of maternal death, increased risk of maternal death, premature labor, congenital infection, and reproductive loss from overwhelming morbidity and mortality (Fakeye, 2009).
There is a considerable body of reports on women’s poor knowledge, attitudes and practices surrounding malaria and its control in different parts of Africa. The disease remains the challenge of tropical health to the largest in the world. Access to medical care is limited in many areas where malaria is endemic and, where medical services exist, it is often lacking facilities for laboratory diagnosis and treatment options. This forces these pregnant women to use various forms of traditional substances and herbs to cure malaria.
PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
The main objective of the study is to examine the use of traditional medicine in the treatment of malaria among pregnant women in Abraka, Delta State. While, the specific purpose includes;
1. To determine influence of socio-economic status on the use of traditional herbs in the treatment of malaria among pregnant women.
2. To find out the extent to which the age of pregnant women determine the use of traditional herbs for the treatment of malaria.
3. To find out the extent to which the level of education of pregnant women determine the use of traditional herbs for the treatment of malaria.
4. To examine the extent to which the locality of pregnant women determine the use of locally made herbs for treatment of malaria.
The following research questions were raised in this study;
1. What is the difference in socio-economic status on the use of traditional herbs in the treatment of malaria among pregnant women?
2. What is the difference in the ages of pregnant women on the use of traditional herbs for the treatment of malaria?
3. What is the difference in the level of educational background of pregnant women in the use of traditional herbs for the treatment of malaria?
4. What is the difference in the locality of pregnant women in the use of traditional herbs for the treatment of malaria?
The following null hypotheses were formulated in the study:
1. There is no significant difference between the Socioeconomic status in use of traditional medicine for the treatment of malaria among pregnant women in Abraka.
2. There is no significant difference between the age groups in the use of traditional medicine for the treatment of malaria by of pregnant women in Abraka.
3. There is no significant difference between the levels of Education in the use of traditional medicine for the treatment of malaria among pregnant women in Abraka.
4. There is no significant difference between Urban and Rural areas in the use of traditional medicine for the treatment of malaria by pregnant women in Abraka
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The findings from this study would be useful to the following; pregnant women, ministries of health, parastatals, health sectors, policy makers and government.
the study will help them to develop a positive attitude towards antenatal care and the possible dangers in the use of traditional herbal medicine in malaria prevention and treatment among pregnant women.
Health sectors: Health practitioners would benefit from this study; as it would help them in caring adequately and planning well for pregnant women attending antenatal clinic when treating them for malaria.
This study would be of great importance to ministries of health by informing them on the importance of this study is to address the issue concerning the attitude towards the use of traditional herbal medicine for the treatment of malaria among pregnant women attending antenatal care and to organize enlightenment programmes aimed at enhancing the attitudes of pregnant women towards frequent antenatal clinics.
This study will help policy makers to formulate relevant policies on malaria prevention while making informed decisions on the steps to follow in increasing antenatal care attendance levels among pregnant women attending Teaching Hospital in River State
This study would be useful to government and parastatals by educating them on the need to provide concerted health education intervention to improve the attitude and knowledge of pregnant women regarding poor health seeking behavior and adequate strategies for malaria prevention especially with the use of insecticide, treated Net, adequate funding, etc. necessary for controlling and reducing incidence of malaria in the general public.
SCOPE/DELIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The study is delimited in scope to the use of traditional medicine in the treatment of malaria among pregnant women in Abraka Delta State, Nigeria. The researcher would chose this site because it is easily accessible and students are sent there for their clinical experiences and cases are referred from primary and secondary health facilities to the institution for expert management.