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.
- Demographic and lifestyle factors
- Non-communicable diseases
- Traditional complementary and alternative medicine