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Patronage of traditional bonesetters in Makurdi, north-central Nigeria

Authors Onyemaechi N, Lasebikan O, Elachi I, Popoola S, Oluwadiya K

Received 2 November 2014

Accepted for publication 23 December 2014

Published 9 February 2015 Volume 2015:9 Pages 275—279


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Johnny Chen

Ndubuisi OC Onyemaechi,1 Omolade A Lasebikan,2 Itodo C Elachi,3 Sunday O Popoola,4 Kehinde S Oluwadiya4

1Department of Surgery, University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Ituku-Ozalla, Enugu, 2Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, National Orthopaedic Hospital, Enugu, 3Department of Surgery, Benue State University Teaching Hospital, Makurdi, 4Department of Surgery, Ekiti State University Teaching Hospital, Ado-Ekiti, Nigeria

Background: Despite the numerous complications associated with traditional bonesetters’ (TBS) practices, their patronage has remained high in developing countries. The aim was to study the reasons patients seek TBS treatment.
Methods: This was a descriptive hospital-based study of 120 patients who were treated by TBS. The sociodemographic profile of the patients, details of injuries sustained, reasons for TBS patronage, duration of TBS treatment, the number of TBS visited, the reason for abandoning TBS treatment, patients’ belief about the TBS practice, and outcome of their treatment were studied.
Results: Out of 418 patients who presented with musculoskeletal injuries, 120 patients who had been treated by TBS before presentation met the inclusion criteria. The mean age of the patients was 37.4±10.5 years. Advice of relatives and friends, as seen in 35 (29.2%) patients, was the most common reason for TBS patronage. Other reasons were cheaper cost (number [n]=30; 25%), sociocultural belief (n=17; 14.2%), easy accessibility (n=15; 12.5%), fear of amputation (n=13; 108%), and fear of operation (n=10; 8.3%). There was no correlation between these factors and age, marital status, occupation, and educational status (P=0.41). Forty-two (35%) patients believed TBS were not useful, a nuisance (n=30; 25%), useful (n=38; 31.7%), or indispensable (n=10; 8.3%). The opinion of patients about the outcome of TBS practice was: very satisfactory (n=0; 0%); satisfactory but with deficiencies (n=24; 20%); unsatisfactory (n=80; 66.7%); and no idea (n=16; 13.3%).
Conclusion: Advice of relatives and friends was the main reason for patronizing TBS. The majority of patients lost confidence in the TBS practice after patronizing them due to the high complication rate.

Keywords: utilization, traditional bonesetters, developing country

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