According estimated that approximately 80% of the

to WHO, (2012), herbal medicine can be defined as medicine that is made out of
plants and is common in many societies in the world including Kenya. When the
herbal medicine is used in ways other than traditional, it becomes complementary and alternative
medicine (CAM). Other names for CAM are alternative medicine or nonconventional
(Wootton, 2015). Therefore, CAM is the opposite of conventional or what we
commonly call western medicine (Wieland et al, 2011).

and alternative medicine cannot be
ignored considering it is vital for health care. It is estimated that
approximately 80% of the world’s population rely on CAM, in one way or the other, for health care. Also, according
to Eisenberg et al (2012), an estimated 80% of the people in
developing countries and 80% of Africans rely on CAM to
meet their primary health care needs. The annual global market CAM in year 2010 was over US$60 billion and is growing
steadily at a rate of fifteen to twenty-five percent (WHO, 2013).

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Many countries in the world including some Asian countries
like China, India and Sri Lanka have realizedmuch success in developing their CAM sector. In these countries, the medicines are very
developed, have good documents, and used not only at the family, community, and
primary health care levels, but even in hospitals where they offer secondary
and tertiary care (Barrett, 2013). Also,
herbal practices in these countries have better curriculum and are systematic and
comprehensive (Verma, and Singh, 2011;
WHO, 2013). 


Long before the advent of conventional medicine in
Africa, traditional medicines, including the use of herbs was the main remedy
for nearly all ailments (Verma, and
Singh, 2011). Today, notwithstanding the increasing use of modern
medicine in countries like Nigeria and Ghana, CAM use
is also hugely practiced and many continue to rely on it for their health care
particularly in psychiatric care.


Kenya, about 70% to 75% of the population rely on CAM for their
primary health care. Also, herbal medicine is the first line of treatment for
more than 60% of children with high fever resulting from malaria(WHO, 2013).
There is, on average, one traditional medical practitioner for every 400
people, compared to one doctor to 12,000 people in Kenya (WHO, 2013). It has
also been noted that CAM is also used to treat people with psychiatric care.

across the world of patients consulting providers of CAM
in low- and middle-income countries
have reported high but varying rates of psychiatric disorders, depending on the
methods employed and the disorders examined. Saeed et al (2010), did a study in
Pakistan and found 61% prevalence of diagnoses using a Psychiatric Assessment
Schedule. The most common psychiatric condition was major depressive disorder
at 24%, then anxiety disorder at 15% and finally psychosis only at 4%. Abbo et
al (2011), mentioned that Uganda after doing a study on patients who had used
CA, that the patients at 60.2% had psychiatric disorders based on the DSM-IV
standard. Ngoma et al (2013) did for Tanzania and found that 49% of the
patients who used CAM had psychiatric disorders mainly depression and anxiety.
Mbwayo et al (2013), did theirs in Kenya and noted that overall 64.2% of those
who used CAM had psychiatric disorders with a huge percentage having
depression, anxiety and Schizophrenia. These significant figures show that
studying about the prevalence of CAM use among psychiatric patients is
important and necessary.

various researchers have found that CAM is real, very accessible, cheap,
culturally adequate, and is consistently being argued as an easily accessible
health care system that can aid and complement government’s efforts at ensuring
quality and equitable health care. In some rural communities, CAM is the only
form of health care that is available, affordable and accessible (Darko, 2012). Thus, the study will
seek to investigate the prevalence
of CAM use among psychiatric patients in Kabarnet Sub County considering the
lack of similar studies in the area.