Use of Traditional Botanical Medicines During Pregnancy in Rural Rwanda


Objective: To evaluate the perceptions of healthcare and traditional medicine providers regarding the type, indications, side effects, and prevalence of traditional medicine use amongst pregnant women in a rural Rwandan population.


Methods: Six focus groups with physicians, nurses, and community health workers and four individual in-depth interviews with traditional medicine providers were held. Qualitative data was gathered using a structured questionnaire querying perceptions of the type, indications, side effects, and prevalence of use of traditional medicines in pregnancy.


Results: The healthcare provider groups perceived a high prevalence of traditional botanical medicine use by pregnant women (50-80%). All three groups reported similar indications for use of the medicines and the socioeconomic status of the pregnant women who use them. The traditional medicine providers and the healthcare providers both perceived that the most commonly used medicine is a mixture of many plants, called Inkuri. The most serious side effect reported was abnormally bright green meconium with a poor neonatal respiratory drive. Thirty-five traditional medicines were identified that are used during pregnancy.


Conclusion: Perceptions of high prevalence of use of traditional medicines during pregnancy with possible negative perinatal outcomes exist in areas of rural Rwanda

Understanding Complex Humanitarian Emergencies in the Horn of Africa: Causes, Determinants, and Responses


Over the past one hundred years, billions of dollars and countless man hours have been spent on humanitarian relief efforts, yet these humanitarian emergencies are continually occurring, and some at even greater frequencies than ever witnessed before. The contemporary approach to humanitarian aid has, thus far, in many cases, led to little or no sustainable change in the communities of interest. The purpose of this paper is to explore and identify the reasons these emergencies continue to occur, gain an understanding for why many aid efforts have largely been ineffective in the Horn of Africa, and to present alternative approaches to humanitarian aid. To accomplish this aim, a thorough review of pertinent articles and documents outlining the region’s past and present was conducted. The research has highlighted the fact that the complex emergencies occurring in the region today cannot be credited to a single catalyst or event. Those working in humanitarian aid need to make a concerted effort, using evidence based public health, to understand and address these emergencies and all of their driving factors, be they religious, political, climactic, tribal, or any other cause identified.

Can It Be Any Hotter?


In this short piece, Samuel Enumah of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine details a specific and personal experience from a visit to a local hospital in Rwanda.

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