The use of and out-of-pocket spending on complementary and alternative medicine in Qassim province, Saudi Arabia
Ann Saudi Med, 2013 MAY-JUNE;33(3):282-289.
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES:
The current picture of the Saudis' use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) has not yet been developed. The aim of this study was to assess the feasibility of using the international questionnaire to measure use of complementary and alternative medicine (I-CAM-Q) in Saudi Arabia to evaluate the use of and out-of-pocket spending on CAM.
DESIGN AND SETTINGS:
It was a cross-sectional study, conducted in 2011, in primary health care centers in Qassim.
In a multistage sampling technique, 12 primary health care centers were selected randomly in the Al-Qassim province in Saudi Arabia. From each center, 100 attendants were interviewed for a total of 1160 completed questionnaires.
A total of 74% of subjects had visited CAM providers in 12 months before the survey. This percentage decreased to 47.6% when spiritual healers were excluded. The specific CAM providers who were visited were spiritual healers (26.7%), herbalists (23.2%), providers of honeybee products (14.9%), and hijama (wet cupping; 13%). Chronic illnesses were the main reason for the visits. A total of 50% of subjects were satisfied with their visit. Physicians were the providers of CAM for 11.3% of the participants. More than 75% of the subjects used herbs in the previous 12 months for medical and health reasons, while only 25% used vitamins or minerals. Self-help was used in 26% of the participants. Relaxation (10.3%) was the most common self-CAM practice followed by meditation (6.7%). The subjects spent 350000 (US$) on CAM visits and 300000 (US$) purchasing CAM products.
I-CAM-Q can be used in different populations and cultures in the East including Saudi Arabia after customization to overcome its limitations, as the questionnaire was developed in Western societies.