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Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine
Open Access Research Ethnomedical survey of Berta ethnic group Assosa Zone, BenishangulGumuz regional state, midwest Ethiopia 1 12 1 Teferi Flatie, Teferi Gedif, Kaleab Asres*and Tsige GebreMariam
1 2 Address: Departmentof Pharmaceutics, School of Pharmacy, Addis Ababa University, PO Box 1176, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia andDepartment of Pharmacognosy, School of Pharmacy, Addis Ababa University, PO Box 1176, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Email: Teferi Flatie  teferif@yahoo.com; Teferi Gedif  teferig@phar.aau.edu.et; Kaleab Asres*  kasres@phar.aau.edu.et; Tsige Gebre Mariam  tsigegmw@phar.aau.edu.et * Corresponding author
Published: 1 May 2009Received: 17 June 2008 Accepted: 1 May 2009 Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine2009,5:14 doi:10.1186/17464269514 This article is available from: http://www.ethnobiomed.com/content/5/1/14 © 2009 Flatie et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Abstract Traditional medicine (TM) has been a major source of health care in Ethiopia as in most developing countries around the world. This survey examined the extent and factors determining the use of TM and medicinal plants by Berta community. One thousand and two hundred households (HHs) and fourteen traditional healers were interviewed using semistructured questionnaires and six focused group discussions (FGDs) were conducted. The prevalence of the use of TM in the two weeks recall period was 4.6%. The HH economic status was found to have a significant effect while the educational level and age of the patients have no effect either on the care seeking behavior or choice of care. Taking no action about a given health problem and using TM are common in females with lowincome HHs. Forty plant species belonging to 23 families were reported, each with local names, methods of preparation and parts used. This study indicates that although the proportion of the population that uses TM may be small it is still an important component of the public health care in the study community as complementary and alternative medicine.
Background Since time immemorial, human beings have found reme dies within their habitat, and have adopted different ther apeutic strategies depending upon the climatic, phytogeographic and faunal characteristics, as well as upon the peculiar cultural and sociostructural typolo gies[1].
Ethiopian traditional medicine (TM) comprises of the use of plants, animals and mineral products as well as beliefs in magic and superstition, although ethnobotany is the major one[2,3]. Studies reported that a significant propor tion of the Ethiopian population still depends on TM for its health care services[4,5] and more than 95% of tradi tional medical preparations are of plant origin[6]. Docu
menting traditional medical knowledge is important to facilitate discovery of new sources of drugs and promote sustainable use of natural resources. On the other hand, the knowledge of the factors involved in the selection of treatment options at household (HH) level is important for health service planning and to incorporating herbal medicine in a country's health care delivery system.
Despite its significant contributions, TM in Ethiopia has attracted very little attention in modern medical research and development, and less effort has been made to upgrade the role of TM practice[7]. This study, therefore, attempts to identify and document factors determining the use of TM and medicinal plants used by Berta ethnic groups, Assosa Zone, midwest Ethiopia.
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