Traditional Medicine & Healthcare in Ghana


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I was asked to give lectures about my research in Ghana to a ’Traditional Cultures of Africa’ class & 'Global Health' class at Portland State University

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Traditional Medicine & Healthcare in Ghana

  1. 1. Ghana Traditional Medicine & Healthcare in Ghana Lisa Briggs Global Health – 2007
  2. 2. Ghana <ul><li>Area </li></ul><ul><ul><li>92,098 square miles </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Population </li></ul><ul><ul><li>22,113,000 </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Language </li></ul><ul><ul><li>English is the official language </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>(79 others) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Religion </li></ul><ul><ul><li>62% Christian, 22% Indigenous Beliefs, 16% Muslim </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Literacy </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Male: 76%; Female: 54% </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Life Expectancy </li></ul><ul><ul><li>57 years </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Agriculture </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Coca, rice, coffee, peanuts, corn, shea nuts, bananas, timber, cassava </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Healthcare Delivery <ul><li>Ghana is divided into 10 regions, each with it’s own hospital </li></ul><ul><li>Accessibility to healthcare is defined as living within 3-5 miles of a health service </li></ul><ul><ul><li>70% of the population lives in a rural area where accessibility is a problem </li></ul></ul><ul><li>In Ghana the ratio of medical doctors to population is 1: 20,000 </li></ul><ul><li>The ratio of traditional healers to population is 1: 200 </li></ul>2006 International Council of Nurses
  4. 4. What is Traditional Medicine? <ul><li>Traditional medicine refers to health practices, approaches, knowledge and beliefs incorporating plant, animal, and mineral based medicines, spiritual therapies, manual techniques and exercises, applied singularly or in combination to treat, diagnose and prevent illness or maintain well-being. </li></ul>Defined by the World Health Organization
  5. 5. Types of Practitioners in Ghana <ul><li>Traditional pharmacists </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Use herbal medicines </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Plant & drug peddlers </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Travel to towns/villages to sell herbal medicines </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Priest & priestess of deities and gods </li></ul><ul><ul><li>They cure spiritually based disease through divination & rituals in healing practices </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Sacred/traditional healers </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Faith healers, use prayer, fasting, herbal medicines </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Health Beliefs <ul><li>Mind body connection </li></ul><ul><li>Environment consists of two worlds </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Physical world which is seen </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Supernatural/spiritual world which is unseen </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Patient Safety Issues Posed by the World Health Organization <ul><li>W.H.O. launched a comprehensive traditional medicine strategy in 2002 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Develop national policies on evaluation & regulation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Create stronger evidence base on the safety, efficacy, and quality </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ensure availability and affordability of TM and herbal medicines </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Promote therapeutically sound use of TM by providers & consumers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Document TM remedies </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Biodiversity & Sustainability <ul><li>Growing herbal market and it’s commercial benefit might pose a threat to biodiversity through the over harvesting of raw materials for herbal medicines </li></ul>World Health Organization 2007
  9. 9. Africa First, LLC <ul><li>Global Summit on HIV/AIDS, Traditional Medicine & Indigenous Knowledge in Accra, Ghana </li></ul><ul><li>(March 2008) </li></ul><ul><li>Vision of Africa First </li></ul><ul><li>Traditional medicine farm in Tepa, Ghana </li></ul><ul><li>J.William Danquah, President/CEO of Africa First </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  10. 10. Africa First – Tepa Medicinal Farm <ul><li>Develop a sustainable production system that is environmentally friendly, profitable, and benefits society. </li></ul><ul><li>Improve the quality of life for the families that reside within the community where the project is located. </li></ul><ul><li>Create a model farm to train farmers about organic production of medicinal plants and sustainable forest management.   </li></ul><ul><li>Use the activities developed in the eco-farm and its natural resources for biodiversity and environmental education. </li></ul>Africa First, LLC 2007
  11. 11. Kakum National Park <ul><li>Largest rainforest in the central region Ghana, 360km </li></ul><ul><li>Reserve established in the 17 th century </li></ul><ul><li>Canopy walkway </li></ul><ul><ul><li>350 meters of suspended bridge, 30 meters above the rainforest floor </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Kakum National Park <ul><li>Hagar </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Park ranger/Guide </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Kuntan/Ebony Trail </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Developed for medicinal & practical uses of forest plant species </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Nature’s Pharmacy </li></ul><ul><ul><li>guinea worm, hemorrhoids, anemia, asthma, labor induction, expulsion of placenta, HIV/AIDS, ringworms, diarrhea, rashes, epilepsy, stomach & head aches, chest pains, high blood pressure, yellow fever, measles, painful menstruation, ulcers </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Ghana: Favorite Pictures
  14. 14. Ghana: Favorite Pictures