Utilization of Fresh-water Fish Species for Trado-Medicine and Health Care Services among Rural Households in Ogun State, Nigeria (Published)
Fish resources have been identified as the most valuable natural food resources for mankind due to its importance as a veritable protein and other mineral resources, which are important for normal functioning of the body system. It was on this basis that the study was carried out to investigate the utilization of fresh-water fish species for trado-medicine and health care services among rural households in Ogun State. It also described the socio-demographic characteristics of the respondents, types of fresh-water fish species used for trado-medicine and health care services, factors influencing the utilization of fresh-water fish species for trado-medicine and effects of the utilization of fish medicine on their socio-demographic characteristics. A well-structured interview schedule was used to elicit information from 80 respondents from two Local Government Areas of Ogun State using a multi-stage sampling procedure. The data collected was analysed using descriptive statistics, a 3-points Likert scale and Chi-square analysis. It was found that majority of the respondents were male, married, with mean age of 49 years with average household size of 7 people. Most of them belonged to one or more social association and had low educational background. The most common occupation of the people was herbal trading and fishing with average years of experience of 23.6 years. About 88.75 percent of the respondents were aware of the utilization of fresh-water fish for trado-medicine and health services. The common freshwater fish species used for trado-medicine were Clarias spp, Malapterurus electricus, Barilius niloticus, Gymnachus spp, Tetraodan fahaka, Heterobranchus bidorsalis, Hepsetus spp, Tilapia spp, Mormyrus spp, Calamoichthys calabaricus (Eel fish), Polypterus spp, Chrysichithys nigrodigitatus. The most common methods of administering these fish medicines were: herbal porridge (aseje), herbal bath mixture with local soap, skin incision (gbere) and lotion to be rubbed on the skin. Hence, this study revealed that the potency of fish medicine and its health benefits are the most influential factors in utilizing freshwater fish species for trado-medicine among the rural households. Age, sex, primary occupation, household size, educational background and marital status have significant relationship with the utilization of fish medicine in the study area.