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Awareness, Use, Attitude and Perceived Need for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) among Undergraduate students in Rwanda: A cross-sectional Survey

Awareness, Use, Attitude and Perceived Need for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) among Undergraduate students in Rwanda: A cross-sectional Survey
Innocent BIRORI
Issue Date
Background There is prevalent widespread use of Complementary Alternative Medicine around the world but there is low awareness among nurses and medical students
this requires health professionals including nurses and midwives to have the required knowledge to better advise their patients. This has led to an increased need for the inclusion of CAM instruction into the mainstream undergraduate nursing education. This study was carried out to describe undergraduate students’ awareness, use, attitude and perceived need for CAM education in Rwanda Kabgayi School of Nursing and Midwifery and at the same time, determine how these descriptive outcomes are influenced by the socio-demographic variables considered in this study. The aim of this study was therefore to assess the current knowledge, attitudes and practices of undergraduate students in Rwanda towards Complementary Alternative Medicine in order to generate information that could be used to inform its policy and practice in Rwanda and elsewhere. Methods This was a descriptive cross sectional study that used quantitative methods of data collection and analysis. Self-administered structured questionnaires were administered to a sample of 300 Nurses Kabgayi School of Nursing students in Rwanda. Data was processed and analyzed using Microsoft Excel and SPSS version 21. It was found that the current level of awareness among the nursing school students on complementary medicine is low, the most therapies that were never known to the respondents were Chiropractic medicine and Ayurvedic medicine where nearly a half of the respondents had never heard of the above mentioned traditional and complementary medicine therapies. It was also found that complementary and alternative medicine information was mainly obtained from traditional and non-evidence based sources such as mass media, books, and oral tradition which may be ambiguous. Respondents’ attitudes were generally not known. Personal use was found no to be common among the respondents with 31, 8% having personally ever used it and 68.2% having used it in the past12 months (One year). Undergraduate students who had a traditional and complementary medicine provider in their family or had attended any training/continuing nursing education on traditional and complementary medicine in their study program and those who are working, a small number of them were found to have recommended complementary and alternative medicine to others. Conclusion Increasing the knowledge and awareness of Complementary and Alternative Medicine use among the undergraduate nursing students in Rwanda could help to promote future safer and rational use of traditional and complementary medicines. It could also promote more awareness. We therefore recommend on including courses that pertain to the use of complementary and Alternative Medicine in the curriculum of undergraduate students in Rwanda especially those who are being trained to become future healthcare providers, training of conventional health workers on key aspects of traditional and complementary.
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