Document Type



Family Medicine


Objective: To study the pattern of use and non-use of the services of hakim practitioners, among patients visiting the Family Physicians, at a teaching hospital in Karachi.
Design: Cross-sectional survey
Place and Duration of Study: Family practice centre, The Aga Khan University, Karachi, from March to June, 2001.
Methods: A total of 387 patients were surveyed against an estimated sample size of 347. A questionnaire was developed and administered to collect information on the patterns of the use and non-use of the services of hakim practitioners among the respondents.
Results: The majority of the respondents were young, well-educated and better placed socioeconomically. Eighty eight (22.7%) of the respondents had sought treatment from hakims. Fever, gastrointestinal problems, musculo-skeletal problems, skin diseases and headaches were the top five conditions for consulting hakims. Recommendation of someone, hakims being effective healthcare providers, doctors would not cure, reliability of hakims, and hakims are a cheaper option were stated to be the top five reasons for consulting hakims. Do not believe in hakims, allopaths are more effective, do not consider hakims as a treatment option, hakims are not scientific and hakims are not effective were stated to be the top five reasons for not consulting hakims. 213 (55%) of the respondents, who had previously used the services of hakims, were willing to see them again in future.
Conclusion: We have documented the patterns of use and non-use of the services of hakim practitioners. Our findings have important implications for medical practice, since a significant number of patients, visiting allopathic practitioners, seek treatment from hakims.

Publication (Name of Journal)

Journal of College of Physicians and Surgeons Pakistan