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|Title:||Investigating the perceptions and experiences of parents and guardians regarding paediatric Homoeopathic care received from Homoeopaths in the eThekwini Municipality||Authors:||Strauss, Tylah||Keywords:||Homoeopathy;Paediatrics;Public Health;Perceptions;Experiences;Motherhood||Issue Date:||29-Sep-2022||Abstract:||
Background: Homoeopathy is a Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) therapy that
is based on the law of similars – “Let Likes be Cured by Likes" – whereby substances that are
capable of causing diseases in healthy people can be used in an infinitesimal dose as remedies
to treat the similar disorder in someone who is ill. Globally homoeopathy is receiving greater
recognition nowadays, particularly for its use in children. This is a result of parents seeking out
treatments which they believe to be more tailored and "natural". However, this same trend is
not mirrored in a South African setting. Despite there being a greater recognition of
homoeopathy, the research on homoeopathy in South Africa (especially paediatric
homoeopathy) is scarce and overseas trends cannot be extrapolated to a South African
population. Therefore, this study aimed to fill a gap in the literature by exploring and describing
the perceptions and experiences of parents and legal guardians regarding paediatric
homoeopathy care received from homoeopaths in the eThekwini Municipality.
Objectives: The aim of the study was to investigate the perceptions and experiences of parents
and legal guardians regarding paediatric homoeopathic care received from homoeopaths in the
Methods: A qualitative study was conducted using semi-structured interviews. This study was
conducted on 12 parents regarding paediatric homoeopathy care received from one of the
homoeopaths in the eThekwini Municipality. The interviews began with a 'grand tour' question
followed by other approved questions to gauge these perceptions and experiences. The
interviews were conducted in English and later transcribed verbatim. The transcripts were
analysed using Tesch's 8-step approach to qualitative research, whereby specific recurring
themes are extracted from the data.
Results: A total of 12 participants were interviewed. Four major themes emerged from the data:
perceptions of homoeopathy, experiences of homoeopathy, challenges to homoeopathy and
their possible solutions, homoeopathy versus allopathy, and an unplanned emergent theme of
motherhood. The participants had varying levels of knowledge of homoeopathy depending on
their level of connection (i.e. those with a close friend/relative who was in the profession had a
better understanding). There were uniform perceptions of homoeopathy being "natural",
"gentle", allusions to the law of similars and principle of the minimum dose, individualistic
treatment and the stimulation of the vital force in order to allow the body to heal itself.
Homoeopathic medication had perceptions of having no side-effects, having the ability to treat
a wide array of conditions, and difficult dosages to adhere to. The overall experiences of
homoeopathy were exceedingly positive. The participants commented on the thoroughness of
the consult, the need for the practitioner to delve deep to find out the cause for the disease, the
availability of the practitioner and the empathy and care felt. Awareness and education to the
public, public access of OTC homoeopathic remedies, multi-disciplinary approach to paediatric
management and integration into public healthcare proved to be the most beneficial solutions.
When comparing homoeopathy to allopathy, we see that the homoeopathic holistic approach
(whereby all symptoms are considered and there is an attempt to treat on more than just the
physical plane) is preferred, there is a great mistrust with the pharmaceutical industry and participants wanted to be active participants in selecting which form of healthcare they chose.
Mothers proved to be a valuable source in gaining awareness and mouth-to-mouth referral;
their role in paediatric healthcare is paramount.
Conclusion: Overall there were positive perceptions and experiences of homoeopathy,
however, greater effort needs to be placed on education of the public, building relationships
with other professionals and integration into public health care. Future studies should assess a
wider catchment area, include quantitative research to get statistical evidence of efficacy,
conduct in-person interviews to assure the quality of the data and include the role of mothers
in future paediatric healthcare. Recommendations for the homoeopathic community include
making information accessible to patients, increasing awareness of homoeopathy to the public
and building inter-professional relationships and integrating into public healthcare.
Dissertation submitted in partial compliance with the requirements for the Master’s Degree in
Health Sciences: Homoeopathy, Durban University of Technology, Durban, South Africa, 2022.
|Appears in Collections:||Theses and dissertations (Health Sciences)|
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