Usage of Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicine and Related Factors among Patients Receiving Healthcare in Lesotho

Thuso Mokhesi, Perpetua Modjadji*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


The use of Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicine (TCAM) is becoming apparent among many populations, particularly those suffering from chronic illnesses. Although this is a concern to clinicians, especially on safety and potential health risks, there is a paucity of data on TCAM usage and related factors among patients receiving healthcare in Lesotho. Objective: To determine the prevalence of TCAM usage and associated factors among patients receiving healthcare in a health facility in Lesotho. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted among 336 patients receiving healthcare in the Maseru district, Lesotho. A validated questionnaire was used to collect data on demographic and lifestyle factors, disease and treatment profile, treatment challenges, and TCAM usage, reasons/purpose, disclosure, healing system, duration, costs, sources and types. Multiple logistic regression analysis was used to ascertain any relationships with TCAM usage. Results: The response rate was 98%. The mean age of participants was 51±16years. Unemployment (63%) was high and, over half of the patients (59%) attained primary school education. Patients were mostly on treatment for sexually transmitted infections (42%), non-communicable diseases (30%) and comorbidities (19%), with 98% taking prescribed medication. TCAM usage was 15% with Traditional Herbal Medicine (THM) being the most widely used. Common THM were Dicoma Anomala, Eriocephalus Punctulatus, Aloiampelos Striatula, Artemisia Afra and Allium Sativum, obtained from the traditional healers (53%), followed by relative/friends (16%), pharmacists (13%), open market (12%), and accessed at low costs. TCAM was used to treat infectious (23%) and non-infectious (77%) diseases, but disclosure (7%) to healthcare workers was low. Multivariate analysis showed that TCAM usage was associated with self-employment AOR=6.3, 95%CI; 2.57-15.21, and being a student AOR=3.6, 95%CI; 0.99–12.71. Conclusion: THM was the most widespread type of TCAM among the study population in Lesotho. Prospective studies on TCAM usage are necessary to inform proper practice and safety in Lesotho.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere187494452202090
JournalOpen Public Health Journal
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Demographic and lifestyle factors
  • Dseases
  • Healthcare
  • Lesotho
  • Non-communicable diseases
  • Outpatients
  • Patients
  • Traditional complementary and alternative medicine


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