Charlotte Wenze Ayima, Nana Njamen Theophile, Assob J.C.N and Dickson Shey Nsagha
Background: Up to the 21st century, Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicine (TCAM) is still used despite the wide spread of orthodox medicine. The magnitude, predictors and types of herbal remedies used for COVID-19 are assessed to tailor evidence based policy and drug formulation against COVID-19.
Methods: A community based cross sectional study was conducted among 1100 respondents from nine (9) communities selected in three health districts from May to July 2020. Pretested structured questionnaires were used to collect data from selected households on the use of TCAM, predictors as well as on the herbal preparations used for COVID-19. Nineteen (19) traditional healers were also interviewed on the types of herbal preparations use on patients tested or suspected for COVID-19 and the signs and symptoms observed. P-value <0.05 were considered to be statistically significant in multivariate logistic regression analysis. Atlas ti V 7.5 was used for types of herbal species reported.
Results: Of the 1100 participants sampled, 754 (68.5%) had used TCAM in the last 12 months, 95%CI: 66.3-71.5. A total of 24.4% (95%CI: 20.6-29.1) of the participants used herbal remedies for COVID-19. Allium sativum, Azadirachta indica, Zingiber oficinale, Artemisia annuawere most commonly used herb for COVID-19. Cough, catarrh and fever were the main symptoms of COVID-19. Herbalists 79.7% (95% CI: 77.3-82.1) and bone setters 14.9% (95% CI: 12.8-17.0) were mostly visited. Logistic regression analysis showed age >41 years (95% CI: 1.09-4.91), being a farmer (95% CI: 1.99-5.34), income levels between 185-370 USD (95% CI: 1.33-4.55), participants who resided in a rural setting (95% CI: 1.04-3.98), being knowledgeable on TCAM (95% CI: 1.54-6.45) and having a positive attitude towards TCAM (95% CI:1.94-6.45) were predictors for TCAM use.
Conclusion: TCAM is widely used even in the era of orthodox medicine, and many factors contribute to its use in the Southwest Region of Cameroon which should be taken into consideration in healthcare interventions that are sensitive to TCAM. Herbal preparations used during the COVID-19 pandemic can serve as baseline for drug development through efficacy and toxicity tests.