Original Research

Allopathic medicine practitioners’ experiences with non-disclosure of traditional medicine use

Lindiwe Gumede, Pauline B. Nkosi, Maureen N. Sibiya
Health SA Gesondheid | Vol 29 | a2381 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hsag.v29i0.2381 | © 2024 Lindiwe Gumede, Pauline B. Nkosi, Maureen N. Sibiya | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 08 March 2023 | Published: 31 January 2024

About the author(s)

Lindiwe Gumede, Department of Medical Imaging and Radiation Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa
Pauline B. Nkosi, Department of Radiography, Faculty of Health Sciences, Durban University of Technology, Durban, South Africa
Maureen N. Sibiya, Faculty of Innovation and Engagement, Mangosuthu University of Technology, Durban, South Africa


Background: A pertinent issue impacting patient treatment outcomes is the nondisclosure of traditional medicine (TM) use to Allopathic medicine practitioners (AMPs). For years, TM has been a controversial practice, with patients often using it alongside allopathic medicine without disclosing their use. It is imperitive to learn and understand the experiences of AMPs regarding the disclosure of TM use in Gauteng province to enable them to provide the best possible treatment outcomes for patients who use TM.

Aim: This study aimed to explore the experiences of AMPs regarding non-disclosure of TM use in Gauteng province.

Setting: This study was conducted in four district hospitals where outpatient care and services are rendered in Gauteng Province.

Methods: An interpretive phenomenological analysis (IPA) design was followed. Fourteen purposefully sampled AMPs participated in face-to-face, one-on-one, and semi-structured interviews. Interpretive phenomenological analysis in Atlas.ti was conducted.

Results: Three themes emerged: bedside manner of AMPs; stigmatising TM use; and individual belief systems. The belief of patients’ disclosure hesitancy because of fear of judgment by the AMPs underpinned these themes.

Conclusion: Allopathic medicine practitioners are aware that patients who use TM could feel guilty and stigmatised. They acknowledged that patients use TM because of cultural and ethnic reasons, which should not be disregarded.

Contribution: The study highlighted that patients do not disclose their TM use because of AMPs’ attitudes, stigmatising TM use, and their prejudices against the cultural beliefs of patients. Allopathic medicine practitioners should establish good communication with patients by providing patient-centred communication to facilitate disclosure of TM use.


traditional medicine; Allopathic medicine practitioners; non-disclosure; patient treatment outcomes; consultation; stigmatising; belief systems; cultural and ethnic reasons

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 10: Reduced inequalities


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