Maluma et al., 2017 Prevalence of Traditional Herbal Medicine use and associated factors among pregnant women of Lusaka Province, Zambia

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Keywords: Cross-Sectional Survery, Traditional Herbal Medicines, Pregnancy, Prevalence, Factors, Lusaka, Zambia


Background: Traditional herbal medicine (THM) use during pregnancy places women at high risk of adverse maternal health outcomes.

Aim: This study determined the prevalence and factors associated with traditional herbal medicine use in pregnancy.

Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted using a structured interviewer-administered questionnaire for data collection. Two hundred and seventy-three women aged 18–45 years of Chongwe and Chawama communities of Lusaka province were identified for the study. Statistical analysis was done using SPSS v.20 (IBM SPSS Inc., Chicago, IL, USA). Proportions and frequencies were used to describe results and Pearson’s Chi-square test with continuity correction was used to determine association between categorical variables. Fisher’s Exact test was used where more than 20% of the expected frequency was less than 5. Cramér’s V test was used to determine strength of association.
Results: More than a quarter (32%) of the study participants had used traditional herbal medicine at some point during pregnancy. Among the users of traditional herbal medicine, almost all (99%) used it to accelerate labour. Knowledge, socio-cultural beliefs and practices, including myths and misconceptions about pregnancy and delivery were factors associated with THM use.

Conclusion: Women in Chongwe and Chawama communities in Lusaka province of Zambia prevalently used traditional herbal medicine in pregnancy. Concerted efforts, including health education interventions are needed to reduce this practice.