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Eur J Cancer Care (Engl). 2015 Jul;24(4):503-13. doi: 10.1111/ecc.12211. Epub 2014 Jun 13.

Barriers to biomedical care and use of traditional medicines for treatment of cervical cancer: an exploratory qualitative study in northern Uganda.

Author information

1
Department of Medicine, School of Medicine, College of Health Sciences, Makerere University, Kampala.
2
Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, College of Health Sciences, Makerere University, Kampala.
3
Department of Community Health, School of Public Health, College of Health Sciences, Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda.

Abstract

Use of traditional medicines for treatment of cancers has increased worldwide. We used a qualitative approach to explore barriers to biomedical care and reasons for use of traditional medicines for the treatment of cervical cancer in Gulu, northern Uganda. We carried out 24 focus group discussions involving men and women aged 18-59 years. We employed content analyses technique in data analysis. Traditional medicines were used mainly due to barriers to biomedical care for cervical cancer. The barriers included health system factors, for example long distances to health facilities and unavailability of medicines; health workers' factors, for example negative attitudes towards patients and demands for bribes; individual patient's factors, for example inability to pay for medical care; and socio-cultural beliefs about superiority of traditional medicines and perceived greater privacy in accessing traditional healers. Barriers to biomedical care and community beliefs in the effectiveness of traditional medicines encourage use of traditional medicines for treatment of cervical cancer but might hinder help-seeking at biomedical facilities. There is need for targeted culturally sensitive awareness campaign to promote effectiveness of modern medicine and to encourage cautious use of traditional medicines in the treatment of cervical cancer.

KEYWORDS:

barriers to healthcare; cervical cancer; northern Uganda; traditional medicines

PMID:
24923866
PMCID:
PMC4930140
DOI:
10.1111/ecc.12211
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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