269003 Barriers and recommendations for safe herbal medications use in rural Nicaragua

Tuesday, October 30, 2012 : 9:10 AM - 9:30 AM

Elizabeth Keech, PhD, RN , College of Nursing, Villanova University, Villanova, PA
Alexandria Reo, BSN candidate, Villanova University , College of Nursing, Villanova University, Villanova, PA
Background: Eighty percent of those living in developing countries rely on alternative remedies (WHO, 2004). Working with a rural community Nicaragua, we have been presented with reports on the use of herbal remedies by the community health workers as these are often the only medications available because of the extreme poverty and lack of health care resources. It is common to have an herbal remedy reported to have positive effects on more than one health problem; from curing headaches to infertility to seizures.

There is a critical need for scientific validation of the proper use and purpose of each medication. While this validation is lacking for many herbal remedies, it is essential to provide the most accurate information to the health workers about the medications they are dispensing. This is particularly important for those who have no other resources and rely only on alternative therapies. Description: In May, 2012, we will return to Nicaragua for the purpose of identifying the herbal medications used by the health workers and dispensed at the local pharmacy. We will gather information about the uses of each medication. In October, we will return and give a workshop on the recommended uses, dosages, and frequencies of all of the medications that it is possible to identify.

Lessons Learned: We anticipate that there will be a significant lack of information available but will present lessons learned.

Recommendations: Scientific validation on the uses and effects of herbal medications is essential for safe and accurate herbal medication use.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related education
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related nursing
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Participants will be able to: 1.Describe common herbal remedies and their purposed uses in rural Nicaragua. 2.Discuss methods for providing useful educational information to community health workers. 3.Explain barriers in providing information regarding the use of herbal medications. 4.Identify resources for accessing accurate information on herbal medications.

Keywords: Alternative Medicine/Therapies, Community Education

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Dr. Elizabeth Keech received her BSN (1966) from Villanova University and a Masters in Nursing (1978), Social Gerontology (1987) and PHD in Nursing (1991) from the University of Pennsylvania. She is currently an assistant professor in the College of Nursing, Villanova University. The focus of Dr. Keech’s professional career includes a focus on Public Health Issues. She has been teaching health promotion principles to nursing students and has to Nicaragua annually since 2004.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.