Perceptions of the Muslim religious leaders and their attitudes on herbal medicine in Bangladesh: a cross-sectional study
1 Department of Healthcare Administration, Nagoya University Graduate School of Medicine, Nagoya, Japan
2 Department of Dermatology, Holy Family Red Crescent Medical College Hospital, Dhaka, Bangladesh
3 Dhaka Shishu Hospital, Dhaka, Bangladesh
BMC Research Notes 2011, 4:366 doi:10.1186/1756-0500-4-366Published: 26 September 2011
Herbal Medicines (HMs) are playing major roles in the health of the millions of people worldwide. Muslim Religious Leader (MRLs), being an important component of the society with huge influence on it, could contribute a lot to promote HM. This study was aimed at evaluating perceptions of the MRLs, their satisfaction and attitudes towards HM in Bangladesh.
This cross-sectional study collected data from a purposive sample of 503 MRLs using an interviewer-administered structured questionnaire during December 2010 and January 2011. Main outcome measures included sociodemographic variables, MRLs' preferences in using HMs, their satisfaction and intent to use HMs in the future, and finally MRLs' attitudes toward HM use.
Although two-fifth (40.4%) of the MRLs preferred HM among different form of complementary and alternative medicines, they used orthodox medicine (OM) more frequently than HM in last one year. Majority believed that HM was effective for all age groups (52.6%) and both sexes (74.5%). One-third felt that HM was more effective for chronic diseases, 68.5% felt that it only promotes health, and 40.8% said it keeps them relaxed. About 98.0% of the respondents experienced 'no harm' but 'benefit' from HM; naturally, they were satisfied with HM and were willing to recommend it to others. Urban, older (>40 years), and 'single' respondents were more likely to use HM (gender and education adjusted odds ratios = 1.7 [95% confidence interval, CI = 1.1-2.6], 1.9 [95% CI = 1.3-3.0], and 1.6 [95% CI = 1.2-2.1], respectively). Overall, respondents exhibited very positive attitude towards HM with mean score of 4.2 (range, 3.7-4.6) of a 5-point Likert scale (Score 5 for strongly agree to 1 for strongly disagree).
We report adequate perceptions, satisfaction, and very positive attitudes towards HM among MRLs. Mass media had a significant contribution towards its promotion. If HM are to assume a respected place in the contemporary healthcare, its acceptance among general population needs to be established through incorporating MRLs in the process of HM promotion in Bangladesh.