Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) has played an important role in providing universal access to essential health care services globally. Conventional medicine (CM) driven health care practices are well-developed in Bangladesh; however, millions of people utilise CAM-based healthcare services for specific health conditions or health benefits due to high out-of-pocket payment (74%) in Bangladesh, while the global average is only 32%. Lack of evidence exists about the perception and utilisation of CAM in Bangladesh. This study aimed to estimate the prevalence correlates of the perception and utilisation of CAM among patients who received health care at a tertiary hospital, Bangladesh.
This study comprised a cross-sectional study with 1,183 individuals from the cross-sectional survey among patients who received health care from Government Unani and Ayurvedic Medical College Hospital in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Logistic regression analyses were employed to estimate the adjusted effect of independent factors on CAM health care services utilisation.
Thirty-three percent of patients utilised CAM health care services, while 67% of patients sought conventional treatment before turning to CAM. CAM health care utilisation was significantly associated with young adult patients aged 26 to 45 years (AOR=6.26, 95% CI:3.24-12.07), patients without education (AOR=2.99, 1.81-4.93), and being married (AOR=1.79, 1.08-2.97). The apparent effectiveness, lower side effects, adequate patient satisfaction, and recommendations from others were the most prevalent reasons for using CAM.
CM plays a dominant role in health care provision in Bangladesh, with high-level patient satisfaction and health benefits. These results could be valuable for health policymakers as they explore prospects for integrating CAM and conventional medical services.