Perceived Causes of Childhood Illnesses and Herbal Medicine Utilization among Mothers of Child-Patients in Lokoja, Kogi State, North-Central, Nigeria

Bernard .E. Owumi, Eboh, Alfred, Julius .O. Owoyemi, Akpata, Grace Oremeyi


The joy of ownership of children in Africa either as an “Agro-based” labour pool, social symbol or for physical and security purposes cannot be over-emphasized. As important as children are in Nigeria, their lives are almost always threatened by several problems such as nutritional deficiencies and illnesses, especially malaria, diarrhoea diseases, Acute Respiratory Infections (ARIs), Vaccine Preventable Diseases (VPDs) and absolute poverty, which accounted significantly for the severe morbidity and mortality rates among children less than age five years. The study, therefore, investigated utilization of herbal medicine among mothers of under-five children in Lokoja, Kogi state, North-central Nigeria. The descriptive cross-sectional research design was used to study 300 mothers of paediatric patients. The questionnaire was designed to elicit the data from the respondents through the systematic and purposive sampling techniques. The Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS), version 18.0. was used to analyse the data collected while the hypotheses were tested using the spearman rank correlation. The study findings revealed among others that, the respondents considered herbal remedies safe for the treatment of their sick children and so expressed satisfaction with the products used. Similarly, the perception of disease aetiology among the respondents had a significant positive correlation with the utilization of herbal medicine, while religious affiliations and orientations positively influenced the use of the medicine in the study area. The study, therefore, concluded that herbal medicine is an integral aspect of the overall healthcare delivery system and should be promoted for remedial intervention at the outset of diseases. Perception of disease aetiology and religious affiliations are predictors of the respondents’ health seeking behaviour. “Cross-system” referral is recommended for herbal as well as orthodox medical practitioners if the jeopardizing health of the under-five children is to be addressed holistically.

Keywords: Disease Aetiology, child-Patients, Herbal Medicine, and Utilization

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ISSN (Paper)2224-5766 ISSN (Online)2225-0484

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