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Title: Knowledge of traditional herbalists on diabetes mellitus and the effect of herbal medicine on Glycaemic control
Authors: Akanbonga, Samson
Issue Date: 2-Jul-2015
Abstract: Response to the high epidemic of diabetes mellitus on the African continent is bedeviled by challenges including lack of access to accurate information on the disease. Many diabetics therefore turn to traditional herbalists who promise cure for diabetes mellitus using herbal medicine. Traditional herbalists are therefore a significant source of management and information on diabetes mellitus, yet there is little published information about knowledge of traditional herbalists on diabetes mellitus and the effect of herbal medicine on glycaemic control. A descriptive study employing interviews was conducted with 55 traditional herbalists and 235 diabetics in the Techiman Municipality of Ghana. The objectives were to assess traditional herbalists’ knowledge on diabetes mellitus and its management, and to determine the effect of herbal medicine use for diabetes mellitus management on glycaemic control of diabetics who use herbal medicine and are attending the diabetic out-patient clinic of Holy Family Hospital in Techiman. Traditional herbalists’ overall knowledge scores on diabetes mellitus were classified as; good (if ≥ 70%), satisfactory (if 50-60%) or poor (if < 50%) based on classification used in a similar study. The results showed that the traditional herbalists’ overall knowledge on diabetes mellitus is poor (average percentage score of 15.6 ± 9.4). Only 38.2% of the traditional herbalists correctly identified diabetes mellitus as too much “sugar” in the blood. A few (7.3%) said diabetes mellitus is caused by a malfunctioning organ that helps body cells utilise sugar. There was no complete distinct understanding between the causes and risk factors of diabetes mellitus among the studied traditional herbalists because 44% mentioned some established risk factors as causes of diabetes mellitus. Few (25.5%) agreed that there are various types of diabetes mellitus but could not mention the specific types and 33% said they had no idea about the risk factors of diabetes mellitus. None of the traditional herbalists mentioned overweight/obesity and advancing age as risk factors of diabetes mellitus. Only 7.3% of the traditional herbalists mentioned polyphagia or polydipsia as signs/symptoms of diabetes mellitus. Important complications of diabetes mellitus such as kidney disease and heart disease were not mentioned by any of the traditional herbalists. Almost all the traditional herbalists (92.7%) considered dietary modification by consuming high servings of vegetables while reducing the intake of starches and sugar as an essential part in the management of diabetes mellitus. The prevalence of herbal medicine use for diabetes mellitus among diabetics attending the diabetic out-patient clinic of Holy Family Hospital, Techiman was 8.9% and this did not significantly affect their glycaemic control. The findings imply that people who consult traditional herbalists for diabetes mellitus management are more likely to receive inaccurate information and not more effective herbal medicines compared to orthodox management which can negatively affect diabetes mellitus self-management practices. Based on the results of this study, it is recommended that capacity building programmes to help improve upon traditional herbalists’ knowledge on diabetes mellitus be encouraged and further studies should be conducted on the effect of only herbal medicine use on glycaemic control. Key words: Knowledge, Traditional herbalists, Herbal medicine,Diabetes mellitus.
Description: A thesis submitted to the Department of Biochemistry and Biotechnology, College of Science in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of MASTER OF PHILOSOPHY IN HUMAN NUTRITION AND DIETETICS. 2015
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/123456789/7726
Appears in Collections:College of Science

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