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Challenges Associated with Anti-epilepsy Medication and Use of Complementary or Alternative Medicines among People with Epilepsy in Rural Communities of Zimbabwe

Ngonidzashe Mutanana


The main objective of this study was to analyse challenges associated with anti-epilepsy medication and use of complementary or alternative medicines among people with epilepsy in rural communities of Zimbabwe. The study opted for qualitative research because it is culturally specific and data collected is contextually rich. The target population was people with epilepsy and caregivers of children with epilepsy and using a snowball sampling technique, a sample of 15 people with epilepsy and 5 caregivers of children with epilepsy was selected. The study purposively selected 2 traditional healers, 2 faith healers and 2 psychiatric nurses to have their insight on complementary and alternative medicines in the community and data was collected using face-to-face in-depth interviews. Findings revealed that anti-epilepsy medication is associated with a number of challenges in rural communities, chief among them that people with epilepsy are not informed about the side-effects of anti-epilepsy medication such as stomach upset, dizziness, blurred vision and sexual dysfunction. As a plateau to these anti-epilepsy medication side-effects, they make use of traditional and spiritual medicines either as complementary or alternative to anti-epilepsy medication. They are also facing challenges of Anti-Epilepsy Drugs shortages and long distances to health facilities and consequently, they opt for complementary or alternative medicines to sustain their livelihoods. The study recommends modern healthcare providers to supply people with epilepsy with adequate information on the side-effects of drugs. Healthcare providers must have enough information on complementary and alternative medicines. Traditional and faith healers must be accommodated in epilepsy treatment because of sociocultural aspects, and they too must be educated on the relevance of the modern healthcare system in epilepsy treatment. The study finally recommends a study on the multi-cultural approach of epilepsy management in Zimbabwe.


Anti-Epilepsy Medication, Complementary and Alternative Medicines, Traditional and Spiritual Medicine, People with Epilepsy

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