Public Perceptions of the Role of Traditional Medicine in the Health Care Delivery System in Ghana

  •  Razak Gyasi    
  •  Charlotte Mensah    
  •  Prince Adjei    
  •  Seth Agyemang    


Background: People from different cultural backgrounds have used different forms of Traditional Medicine as a means to managing their ailments. This study examined public perceptions of the role of Traditional Medicine in relation to the accessibility, conditions treated, safety, efficacy rate and interactions between traditional and orthodox medical systems in the Sekyere South District of Ashanti, Ghana. Methods: This was a descriptive cross-sectional survey. A sample of 70 Traditional Medical Practitioners, 30 health care users, and 20 Orthodox Medical Practitioners were used and selected respectively based on snowball, random sampling and purposive techniques. Both quantitative and qualitative data were collected through administered-questionnaire and in-depth interviews. Non-participant observation was used to assess the working environments of the practitioners in 9 selected communities in the district. Relevant data obtained were analysed using both qualitative and quantitative methods. Percentages and cross-tabulations, using the Predictive Analytic Software (PASW), version i6.0 were the methods used to analyse the data.

Findings: The main findings suggest that Traditional Medicine is effective as it was employed in treating numerous medical conditions such as malaria, typhoid fever, arthritis, jaundice, impotency, infertility, stroke,   broken bones, boils, piles, HIV/AIDS, mental illness, etc. However, safety of use of the Traditional Medicine is not standardized. Moreover, there is some form of interaction between the two health care providers through cross-referrals though; the cross-referral systems are not coordinated and strictly unofficial. Traditional Medicine is readily available to the people and also less expensive, hence easily accessible. Policy options that seek to address some difficulties and challenges encountered by the practices of Traditional Medicine and improving upon the quality, safety, and standard of service are recommended. Conclusion: The conclusion drawn from the research is that Traditional Medicine is used by many people to managing numerous conditions. It is accessible and effective. It therefore plays a significant role by reducing life-threatening ailments of humanity. This study adds to the scant but growing documented literature about the potentials of Traditional Medicine.

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