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American Journal of Epidemiology and Infectious Disease. 2020, 8(1), 37-47
DOI: 10.12691/ajeid-8-1-6
Open AccessReview Article

The Role of Traditional, Complementary/Alternative Medicine in Primary Healthcare, Adjunct to Universal Health Coverage in Cameroon: A Review of the Literature

Dickson Shey Nsagha1, , Charlotte Wenze Ayima1, Theophile Nana-Njamen2 and Jules Clement Nguedia Assob3

1Department of Public Health and Hygiene, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Buea, South West Region, PO Box 63, Buea, Cameroon

2Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Buea, PO Box 63, Buea Cameroon

3Department of Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Buea, South West Region, PO Box 63, Buea Cameroon

Pub. Date: April 24, 2020

Cite this paper:
Dickson Shey Nsagha, Charlotte Wenze Ayima, Theophile Nana-Njamen and Jules Clement Nguedia Assob. The Role of Traditional, Complementary/Alternative Medicine in Primary Healthcare, Adjunct to Universal Health Coverage in Cameroon: A Review of the Literature. American Journal of Epidemiology and Infectious Disease. 2020; 8(1):37-47. doi: 10.12691/ajeid-8-1-6


Background: Traditional medicines are an important part of healthcare in sub-Saharan Africa. Traditional medicine has long been used in Cameroon and the world over in the prevention and treatment of diseases, physical and mental disorders as well as social imbalance. Building successful disease management programs that are sensitive to traditional medicine practices, achieving primary and Universal Health Coverage (UHC), will require an understanding of their current use, and roles as well as the state of regulation. This review was done to identify the role, research gaps, and suggest perspectives for future research as far as traditional medicine is concerned in Cameroon. Methods: Database searches were done through the internet using Google scholar, Google, PubMed, Sci-hub, books, theses, and related websites involving the use of key words in both English and French Languages. Out of the 93 articles only 12 original articles and 3 reviews met the inclusion criteria. Results: Studies show that 4.6% (urban settlement) compared to 94% (semi urban settlements) in Sub-Saharan Africa with Cameroon inclusive use and patronize traditional herbal medicine. One of the priorities of the African Regional Strategy on Promoting the Role of traditional medicine (TM) in Health Systems was found to be the promotion of collaboration between practitioners of traditional and conventional medicine. However, despite the health benefits such collaboration could bring to the populations, decades of disregard of traditional medicine practices and products has created mistrust between the two sectors hampering all the efforts being made to promote this potentially useful partnership. Based on this review, traditional herbal medicine plays a role in oral health, reproductive health and HIV /AIDS in Cameroon. Conclusion: It is undoubtedly evident that traditional medicine plays a role in primary healthcare sector in Cameroon which must be further assessed to see specific roles in achieving UHC, ensure collaboration as stipulated by the WHO as well as hindrances to collaboration and also regulation strategies to ensure quality products, practices and practitioners.

role regulation traditional medicine complementary/alternative medicine primary healthcare UHC Cameroon Africa

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