Traditional meds remain popular
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
A STUDY found that there is a high prevalence of traditional medicines used in Brunei despite the free health care system provided in the country.
Dr Dk Nurolaini Pg Hj Muhammad Kifli, Deputy Dean (Undergraduate, Administration and Finance) of Universiti Brunei Darussalam, conducted a study to find out Bruneian’s perception, attitude, knowledge and practices on the use of traditional medicines.
In her study, she said doctors need to understand traditional medicines better and to communicate more with their patients on the use of herbal medicines.
The questionnaire based study saw a total of 2,400 randomly administered patients attending health centres and tertiary hospitals across all four districts, aged between 16 to 85 years.
Out of the total respondents, over 62 per cent of the participants perceived traditional medicines to be a safe form of medication as it is made up of natural sources and had been used for generations, despite their limited scientific evidence.
More than 400 participants agreed that traditional medicines can be easily found at specialised shops and supermarkets in the sultanate.
Meanwhile, 59 per cent or 1,396 Bruneians were found to have used some form of traditional medicine throughout their life, with a majority of its users from the older age group (56 years and above).
According to the World Health Organisation, traditional medicine is the diverse health practices, approaches, knowledge and beliefs incorporating plant, animal or mineral based medicines, spiritual therapies, manual techniques to maintain well-being, as well as to treat, diagnose or prevent illness.
The study held to investigate the extent of traditional medicines usage in the sultanate also found that there were more Bruneian females using traditional medicines, compared to their male counterparts, with 1,804 participants claiming that it is easily available.
The PhD graduate in her study also noted that 73 per cent out of 2,400 respondents did not report their use of traditional drugs to their doctors while 82 per cent of them would spend less than $50 on traditional medicines every month.
She added that the lack of regulation and perceptions of traditional medicines being touted as safe needs extra cautions, to further prevent any potential serious adverse herb-drug interactions.
“Therefore, medical and health care workers should not ignore this perceptions and patients’ education is utmost important,” she said.
The Brunei Times