Main Article Content
Thailand has promoted the production of herbal medicines for more than a decade because of the 2011 national drug policy. Health professionals in Thailand have used the country's resources for the benefit of those in need of treatment. This has reduced reliance on the use of modern medicine. The objective of this study was to determine the factors influencing public health staff’s opinions on herbal policy, production, support, and price. Methods: The participants included health professionals involved in prescribing herbal medicines and Thai traditional medicines, such as medical staff, pharmacists, and nurses. Opinions and factors from a total of 243 health professionals in hospitals around Sisaket province were collected. Data were collected from questionnaires and from secondary documents. The secondary documents were records in the Sisaket provincial public health office and health data center (HDC). The questionnaire content was validated by 3 experts at 0.05 on the index of objective congruence (IOC). The reliability testing showed the coefficient of Cronbach’s alpha at 0.80 and the knowledge of prescription herbal medicines and Thai traditional medicines was 0.76. The percentage, mean, standard deviation and stepwise multiple regression statistics were calculated. Results: The average age of participants was 38.9 years and 25.5 percent worked with Thai traditional medicines for an average work experience of 13.0 years. About 70 percent worked in health promoting hospitals and 52.7 percent had advanced knowledge of prescription herbal medicines and Thai traditional medicines. A total of 68.7 percent of participants had moderate attitude levels towards prescription herbal medicine and Thai traditional medicines. The factors predicting public health staff’s opinions on herbal policy, production, support, and price in hospitals around Sisaket province included age, workplace, attitude, occupation, and experience at beta 0.224, 0.305, 0.177, 0.277 and 0.281, respectively. Conclusion: They most significant predictors. of public health staff’s opinions on herbal policy, production, support, and price consisted of four variables: age, workplace, attitude, and occupation (p< 0.05). Recommendation: Sisaket provincial public health office must establish policies to promote the use of herbal medicines and Thai traditional medicines in hospitals. This should include support for more herbal medicines, increased consumption of herbal medicines, determination of key performance indicators, evaluation, and financial support. The use of herbal medicine and Thai traditional medicines can be adversely affected by negative attitudes and lack of knowledge, skills, and expertise in medical staff. Education in the use of herbal and Thai traditional medicine is needed to build confidence in medicine staff in these areas. In addition, a system should be initiated to provide comprehensive information on herbal and Thai traditional medicines to health promoting hospitals.
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