INFORMATION SOURCES AND USE OF TRADITIONAL MEDICINE AMONG FARMERS
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Traditional medicine as it’s well known is a cultural gem of various community around the world and encompasses all kinds of folk medicine, unconventional medicine and indeed any kind of therapeutically method that have been handed down by the tradition of a community or ethnic group (Adesina, 2013). By the World Health Organization (WHO, 2016) definition, Traditional medicine is the sum total of all knowledge and practices, whether explicable or not used in diagnosis prevention and elimination of physical, mental or social imbalance and relying exclusively on practical experience and observation handed down from generation to generation whether verbally or in writing. With these description, various forms of medicines and therapies such as herbal medicines, massage, homeopathy, mud bath, music therapy, wax bath, reflexology, dance therapy, self-exercise therapies, radiation and vibration, osteopathy, chiropractics aroma-therapy, preventive medicine, radiant heat therapy etc are a few elements of traditional medicine. It does show that a large country of the size of Nigeria with high population and diverse culture and traditions should be rich in traditional medicine and should have eminent, knowledgeable and respectful traditional healers to take care of the teeming population.
A farmer engages in agriculture and raises living organisms for food or raw material for medicinal purposes (Wikipedia, free encyclopedia) a herb farmers is usually a farm where herbs are grown for market sale. Herbs may be for culinary, medicinal or aromatic use (Wikipedia, free encyclopedia) some traditional Health practitioners’ herbs have been given recognition by the National Agency for Food Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).
The WHO has also recognize the central role traditional medicine plays in the 21st century, specially in the areas of prevention and management of diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS among others. Hence in 2012, it lunched its first ever comprehensive traditional medicine strategy (Adesina, 2014). The strategies are: Development of national policies on the evaluation and regulation of traditional medicine; Creating a stronger evidence base and quality of Traditional medicine product and practice; Ensuring availability and affordability of traditional medicine including essential herbal medicine; Promoting therapeutically sound use of traditional medicine by providers and consumers and Documenting traditional medicine and remedies to ameliorate physical illness as well as psychological and spiritual comfort.
Traditional medicine embraces ways of protecting and restoring health that existed before the arrival of orthodox medicine (WHO, 2011) World Health Organization therefore defines Traditional medicine as diverse health practices, approaches, knowledge and belief incorporating animals, plants and other mineral-based medicine, spiritual therapies, manual techniques and exercise applied singularly or in combination to maintain well-being as well as to treat, diagnosis or prevent illness (WHO 2010; 2012). Buor (2013) in his study on the impact of traditional medicine in the health care delivery services in Ghana argues that traditional medicine involves the use of folk population primarily of unorthodox and unscientific methods for curative and prevention of diseases. It has been debated whether the word “Traditional” should be used at all as it implies some degree of stagnancy or backwardness (Hougen et al., 2014).
Tribes, culture and indigenous people of nations throughout the world have evolve systems of traditional medicine for generations and community have found most of these medical practices valuable and affordable and still depends on them for their health care needs. The WHO estimates that about 60% of the world’s population uses herbal medicines for treating their sickness and up to 80% of the population living in African region depends on traditional medicine for some aspect of primary health care (WHO 2012).
Indeed in rural communities in Edo and Delta states, like other developing countries and elsewhere, traditional medicine as it appears today will continue to remain a vital and permanent part of the people’s own health care. Traditional practitioners use a wide range of treatments ranging from magic to bio-medical treatment methods such as fasting and dieting, bathing, massage, and surgical procedures. Migraines, coughs, abscesses and pleurisy are often cured using the method of “bleed-cupping” after which an herbal ointment is applied with a follow-up herbal drug. Some cultures also rub hot ointment across the patient’s eyelid to cure headache. Malaria is cured by drinking and using steam from an herbal mixture. In some locality, the natives have been known, for the use of the fat of Boa constrictor to cure gout and rheumatism, it is thought to relieve chest pain when rubbed into the skin.
Ailments have over the years been a scourge and a threat to mankind. People from different cultural background have used different herbal plant, plant extract, animal product and mineral substance (Addea-Mensah, 2012) as the means to care, cure and treat ill-health with disease prevention and with health promotion (Curtis and Taket, 2016) since pre-historic times. Some ailment that affects farmers’ in Edo and Delta states are: Ailments , Malaria, Coughs, Ulcers, Diabetics, High blood pressure, Joint and back pain, Hepatitis, Dysentery, Pneumonia and Indigestion.
It is interesting to note that farmers are less prone to arthritic condition (Dr. Uwadiae, Orthopedic Surgeon of the Central Hospital, Benin City, Edo State). An interview from Pax Herbal Magazine.
Some traditional practitioners now have NAFDAC registration number e.g.
Pax Herbal BK – A7 – 0773L
Pax Herbal logotin – A70913L
Pax Herbal cough syrup- 04-7504L
Pax Herbal skin ointment- A7 – 0342L
Datuma D.B Mixture (30 x 10g) 04 – 8264L
Kabal S.C. Herbal Powder – 04 – 8464L
(source NAFDAC and manufacturers’ List, 2011).
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEMS
Health care system contribute a major role in maintain good health. The study was conducted to analyze the prevalence of preference of traditional health care system in rural people in Edo and Delta States respectively. Ill-health is a great factor that brings about the absenteeism of individual at work as well as the absence of farmers from the farm. The greatly reduces farmers yield and income accruable from farm production due to loss of man days at work which in turn increases the poverty level of farmers. In order to prevent this, curative measures are used, in recent times, there seems to be a drastic shift by some farmers from orthodox drugs to herbal products in curing their ailment. Hence, it is important to stress the relevance of traditional medicine preference as a researchable issue among farmers in Edo and Delta States.
Most Nigerians especially those living in the rural communities don’t have access to orthodox medicine and it is estimated that over 75% of the populace still prefers to solve their health problems consulting traditional healers (Awudu, 2010) where such access exist, there is a rising cost of imported medication and other commodities used for medicines. Besides, many rural communities have great faith in traditional medicine particularly the inexplicable aspect as they believe it is the wisdoms of their fore-fathers which also recognize their socio-cultural and religious background which orthodox medicine seems to reject. Recent result/report shows that more people in the world embraces traditional medicine.
In 1996, the World Health Organization Published (WHO Policy and activities in the field of traditional medicine) that in China, the ratio of medical doctors to 1 population stood at 1:20,000 compared with traditional practitioners’ ratio of 1:2,000. Therefore, this study seeks to examine or ascertain farmers’ preference and the determinants for such preference in Edo and Delta States. It is also interesting and worthy of note that the National Agency for food, drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) have encouraged some traditional medicine practitioners by registration of traditional medicines and approving the usage of traditional medicines and approving the usage of traditional medicine with approved NAFDAC numbers. This is done in recognition of the efficacy of traditional medicine. Based on these facts, the questions that this study seeks to address are:
What are the farmers’ socio-economic characteristics?
What is respondents’ access and preference for sources of information on traditional medicine?
What ailment do respondents use traditional medicine for?
What effect do ailments have on respondent’s agricultural production?
How effective is the traditional medicine and what are respondents reasons for preference?
What constraint do respondents face in their farming activities and treatment of ailment using traditional medicine?
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The broad objective of this study is to examine farmer preference for traditional medicine in the treatment of ailments in the study area.
The specific objectives of this study are:
- examine the socio-economic characteristics of the farmers in the study area;
- examine the respondents’ access and preference for sources on information on traditional medicine;
iii. identify the ailment respondents’ use traditional medicine for;
examine the effect ailment have on respondents’ agricultural production;
- ascertain the effectiveness of traditional medicine and the respondents’ reasons for preference; and
- identify constraint respondents’ face in their farming activities and treatment of ailment using traditional medicine.
1.4 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
Ho1: There is no significant relationship between the socio economic characteristics of farmer’s and use of traditional medicine.
Ho2: There is no significant difference between the socio economic characteristics of farmers and their access to sources of information on traditional medicine.
Ho3: There is no significant relationship between socio-economic characteristics of farmers and constraint faced in farming activities and treatment of ailment using traditional medicine.
Ho4: There is no significant difference in farmers yield and income as a result of ailment.
Ho5: There is no significant relationship between socio-economic characteristics and farmers perceived effectiveness of traditional medicine.
Ho6: Health ailment have no significant effect on farmers production.
1.5 JUSTIFICATION OF THE STUDY
This research is significant in many ways; to the government, the farmers and the public at large, in the following ways: It will help the government to realize the importance and effectiveness of traditional medicines and therefore including the use and popularity of traditional medicines in its planning process. It will assist the farmers especially in the rural areas to rely more on the use and preference of traditional medicine as it relates to accessibility and affordability. Lastly, it will help the general public especially those who see traditional medicine as out dated and fetish to see the relevance and effectiveness that traditional medicine is having presently.