Use of traditional medicine in middle-income countries: a WHO-SAGE study

Oyinlola Oyebade, Ngianga-Bakwin Kandala, Peter Chilton, Richard Lilford

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220 Citations (Scopus)
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It is frequently stated in the scientific literature, official reports and the press that 80% of Asian and African populations use traditional medicine (TM) to meet their healthcare needs; however, this statistic was first reported in 1983. This study aimed to update knowledge of the prevalence of TM use and the characteristics of those who access it, to inform health policy-makers as countries seek to fulfil the WHO TM strategy 2014–23 and harness TM for population health. Prevalence of reported use of TM was studied in 35 334 participants of the WHO-SAGE, surveyed 2007–10. TM users were compared with users of modern healthcare in univariate and multivariate analyses. Characteristics examined included age, sex, geography (urban/rural), income quintile, education, self-reported health and presence of specific chronic conditions. This study found TM use was highest in India, 11.7% of people reported that their most frequent source of care during the previous 3 years was TM; 19.0% reported TM use in the previous 12 months. In contrast 
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)984-991
JournalHealth Policy and Planning
Issue number8
Early online date30 Mar 2016
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2016


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