Background: In 2007, a large number of hypertensive patients seen at Natalspruit Hospital had poor adherent to their anti-hypertension treatment which manifested itself through poor blood pressure control. On enquiry, they revealed that they were also taking traditional medicines. Objectives: To explore the reasons given by hypertensive patients for concurrently using traditional and Western medicine. Methods: A qualitative study was conducted amongst nine purposefully selected participants attending treatment at the hospital. Interviews were conducted in the Southern Sotho and IsiZulu languages and were audio-taped. The exploratory question was: 'Would you tell us why you are taking traditional medicine together with the antihypertensive medicine your are receiving at this hospital?' The transcribed and translated transcriptions were analysed using the 'cut and paste' method to identify themes. Results: Themes that emerged were that traditional medicine was readily accessible; traditional healers displayed knowledge and confidence in their medicine; traditional medicine was perceived to counteract the side-effects of western medicine; the two streams were perceived to complement each other and both streams could lead to a 'cure'. Patients were disappointed at the perceived bad attitude of the hospital staff. Conclusion: The reasons given by hypertensive patients for their concurrent use of traditional and Western medicine centred around patients' relatively favourable perception of traditional medicine and its practitioners. Western medicine health care practitioners should continue health education on antihypertensive medication in a manner acceptable to patients.
|African Journal of Primary Health Care and Family Medicine
|Published - 2013