The perception of homoeopathy amongst grade 12 learners in Durban, South Africa
A perception amongst homoeopaths in South Africa that there is a great deal of ignorance and misunderstanding about homoeopathy required empirical evidence to ascertain its validity. A questionnaire was compiled and administered to a sample group of final level secondary education students at selected schools within the Durban metropolitan area of KwaZulu Natal. One school was selected from each of the twelve districts comprising the two regions within the greater Durban area in order to provide a cross section of the demography of the area. Each school was visited and the questionnaire was introduced to learners, who completed and returned it immediately. A short presentation on homoeopathy as a therapy and a career ensued. This method of administering the survey ensured a high return of completed questionnaires. The responses confirmed the initial perception that there is a large degree of ignorance within the population regarding homoeopathy. The great majority of respondents (76.0%) had never heard of homoeopathy, and only 3.7% had ever been treated homoeopathically. However, it is encouraging that more than 80% of those who had no experience of homoeopathy wished to learn more about it. As would be expected from this lack of knowledge of the subject, a large percentage of respondents were unable to provide an opinion on statements aimed at assessing their perceptions of homoeopathy. This trend is also evident with regard to statements on the safety and efficacy of homoeopathic remedies, where 57.7% and 64.4% respectively could not venture an opinion.