The purpose of the paper is to evaluate the findings of the study related to the Use of traditional complementary and alternative medicine for HIV patients in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. The paper will provide a brief idea about the population and will compare the findings of the study with the population in order to evaluate whether the study sample reflect the population or not. Additional strategy will be provided by the paper to resolve the issue of HIV in KwaZulu-Natal.
Description of the population
KwaZulu-Natal is one of the growing urban areas and second most populous province in the South Africa. Beside the growing phase rate of health issue is also increasing in the population. One of the most serious issues that the population is facing is the prevalence of HIV in the province. According to a survey related to AIDS program it has been found that the HIV infection rate is high in the Kwazulu-Natal among South Africa and the rate of infection is higher in the women as compare to men. More than 39% people are suffering from the severe disease among them 25.2% are adult population. 56% women from 30 to 39 years old are highly susceptible to the HIV infection in the population. The increasing rate of HIV infection has became the main obstacle in the way of development in the province as it has started to disrupt the economy of the province by destroying the human capital. The South African Cabinet has approved effective treatment plan for the HIV care in South Africa. People are independent to choose any kind of treatment process for their illness such as, antiretroviral treatment or ART, nutrition program, exercise and traditional and complementary medicines as well (Shisana et al. 2014).
Summary of the methods
The main purpose of the study was to assess the use of TCAM before starting the antiretroviral therapy. In order to carry out the study, the native treatment patients were recruited from three hospitals of UThukela health districts in KwaZulu-Natal. The ART native patients were referred by the health care service providers. The consent of the patients has been taken regarding the confidential survey regarding their health and social condition and it has been ensured that the participation of the patient would not affect their medical care. Background information about the study has been provided to the patients. Permission regarding the access to the patient’s record has been granted from the patient and the health worker. Data were collected after a recruitment period of 4 months and with 97.8% participation through semi-structured questionnaires. Ethical approval has been taken from the Human Science Research Council ethics committee in order to carry out the study without any difficulties. Signs and symptoms of the patients have been measured effectively. Information about the TCAM has been provided to the patients, for example verbal explanation of each medicine and their cost and reason of use has been provided with physician awareness of use (Peltzer et al. 2008).
Comparison of the study sample and the population
The sample of the study has included 618 Black African with HIV. Among them 29.1% are male and 70.9% are female. According to the population of the province the rate of HIV infection is higher in female as compare to the male. Thus, the study has successfully reflects the fact. The age group in the study sample for female is 30-39, which is appropriate as mostly this age group is susceptible to HIV infection. According to the study, 75.2% of the patients have received HIV diagnosis. A news channel in South Africa has revealed that 75% of the population in KwaZulu-Natal has received advantages and treatment for HIV (Gibbs, J. 2018). Hence, the sample of the study has emphasized the true fact. The study sample has indicated that the only 27% of the sample has completed higher-secondary or post-secondary education that reflects the fact that low literacy rate in the population leads to lack of knowledge about HIV infection. Other data collected from the sample in the study for example discrimination in the health care, expensive treatment process and poverty in the population has reflected the population in an effective manner. Thus, the sample accurately reflects the population in the study.
Evaluation of the findings of the study
The findings of the study have indicated that, in most cases the health care providers were not aware about the TCAM therapy. The physicians did not use any herbal therapy in their treatment process and the drug therapy induces adverse reaction within the patient. Thus, it is important to research on the use of TCAM in order to increase the patient safety. The information about the use of TCAM could improve the clinical assessment. The study has ensured that the most of the patients were satisfied after using the TCAM treatment. The findings have shown that the patients used the herbal therapy to reduce the pain and improve the immune supplementation. The spiritual practice has provided relief from stress. Thus, the overall process has improved the well-being of the patients. The study also found that the acceptance of the TCAM process is higher in the female as compare to the male. The lack of access to the health care facilities in case of HIV has indicated the choice of TCAM treatment. However, the patients are selected only from the health care and the study did not establish the cause effect relationship between HIV infection and the use of TCAM. Thus, the study could not be generalized to the general populations that are living with the illness in the province (Peltzer et al. 2008).
The study has recruited patients from health care centre for collecting data thus it could not be generalized to the general population of the province. Hence, it s important to recruit general people that are suffering from HIV and living with the illness. It would help the research process to collect more generalized data regarding the health and social condition, deprivation in the health care centre, lack of education, acceptance of the TCAM treatment process and its effectiveness (Peltzer et al. 2008). Such strategy would help the study to resolve the limitations of the study and achieve desired outcomes.
Thus, from the above analysis it can be said that, the population of KwaZulu-Natal is suffering from HIV infection and the population is independent in choosing any kind of treatment process for their illness. The study has focused on the TCAM before ART. The study has indicated that due to lack of access to the health care facilities, most of the patient prefers TCAM especially the female as it helps to reduce pain and stress in an effective manner. However, the research has been done within the patient of health care, thus the study could not generalized to the general population. Thus, it is important to involve people that are living with HIV to achieve a generalized result
Gibbs, J. 2018. KwaZulu-Natal has highest HIV infection. [online] The Citizen. Available at: https://citizen.co.za/news/south-africa/145025/kwazulu-natal-has-highest-hiv-infection/ [Accessed 19 Jun. 2018].
Peltzer, K., Friend-du Preez, N., Ramlagan, S. and Fomundam, H., 2008. Use of traditional complementary and alternative medicine for HIV patients in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. BMC Public Health, 8(1), p.255.
Shisana, O., Rehle, T., Simbayi, L.C., Zuma, K., Jooste, S., Zungu, N., Labadarios, D. and Onoya, D., 2014. South African national HIV prevalence, incidence and behaviour survey, 2012.