• Aimée M. LuleboEmail author,
  • Mala A. Mapatano,
  • Paulin B. Mutombo,
  • Eric M. Mafuta,
  • Gédéon Samba and
  • Yves Coppieters

BMC Complementary and Alternative MedicineBMC series – open, inclusive and trusted201717:205

DOI: 10.1186/s12906-017-1722-3



In the Democratic Republic of the Congo the control of hypertension is poor, characterized by an increasing number of reported cases of hypertension related complications. Poor control of hypertension is associated with non-adherence to antihypertensive medication. It is well established that the use of complementary and alternative medicine is one of the main factors of non-adherence to antihypertensive medication. The aim of this study is to determine the prevalence and factors associated with the use of complementary and alternative medicine.


A cross-sectional study was carried out at the Kinshasa Primary Health-care (KPHC) facilities network in November 2014. A structured interview questionnaire was administrated to a total of 280hypertensive patients. Complementary and alternative medicine were defined according to the National Institute of Health classification as a group of diverse medical and healthcare systems, practices, and products that are not presently considered to be part of conventional medicine. Data were summarized using proportion and mean (with standard deviation). The student’s t test and χ2 test were used respectively for mean and proportion comparison. Logistic regression analysis identified determinants of the use of complementary and alternative medicine.


The prevalence of use of complementary and alternative medicine was 26.1% (95% CI: 20.7% – 31.8%).Determinants of use of complementary and alternative medicine included misperception about hypertension curability (OR = 2.1; 95%CI: 1.1-3.7) and experience of medication side effects (OR = 2.9; 95%CI: 1.7-5.1).


The use of CAM for hypertensive patients is a major problem; antihypertensives with fewer side effects must be emphasized. Religious leaders must become involved in the communication for behavioral change activities to improve the quality of life for hypertensive patients.