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Title: The use of traditional medicine by caregivers for children under the age of five years as health seeking behaviour
Authors: Pillay, Shanitha 
Keywords: Integrated Management of Childhood Illnesses;Effects and use of traditional medicine on children
Issue Date: 2017
Child health has always been a global priority for decades; however, despite efforts to reduce the child mortality statistics, 5.9 million children under the age of five years have deceased in 2015. IMCI guidelines are used to assess, classify and treat sick children under the age of five years, however, despite the prevalent use of traditional medicine for this age group of children, the guidelines excludes the use of traditional medicine, hence the tendency exists to ignore such questions being asked. It is this gap in the history taking pertaining to sick children seeking health care at clinics that the researcher has identified, therefore, this study is intended to highlight the use of traditional medicine in children under the age of five years. The researcher’s methodology is a quantitative descriptive study by means of a self- developed structured questionnaire which was handed out to 183 caregivers attending a Gateway Clinic and 324 caregivers at Paediatric Out – Patient Department. The total sample size was 507 caregivers of children under the age of five years. Data was analysed using SPSS version 17. The data derived from this study indicated that although most caregivers would take their sick children to the clinic for first line treatment, there are a significant number who would rather use home remedies or seek care from traditional healers. The study reveals that 28.5% of caregivers were found to be administering traditional medicine with conventional medicine and 17.4% would do so concurrently. Evidence also revealed that 75.7% of the caregivers would disclose the use of traditional medicine for their children only if nurses enquired about it.
Recommendations arising from the study findings are that the IMCI guidelines should incorporate a classification chart for use by health care professionals in order

to identify children who were treated by traditional medicine preferably as “RED” - requiring urgent attention and possible admission to hospital, in view of the potential threat to life. Since the IMCI guidelines are also a teaching tool in nursing curricula, the assessment of sick children using traditional medicine will be incorporated into the formal teaching of nurses.

Key words used were Integrated Management of Childhood Illnesses, effects and use of traditional medicine on children.
Submitted in fulfillment of the requirements for the M Tech: Nursing, Durban University of Technology, Durban, South Africa, 2017.
Appears in Collections:Theses and dissertations (Health Sciences)

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