Toward a Comprehensive Healthcare System in Ghana
Presently, Ghana is confronted with a health crisis, driven by enormous burden of diseases and poverty. The current health care system, predominantly modern, has proven inept in meeting the needs of Ghanaians as many continually die from preventable diseases. The quality of services available, the geographical access to this care, efficiency of service delivery, and availability of adequate resources to finance and sustain health systems, have placed unnecessary barriers to access available care in Ghana. Continuous decline of health care has consistently failed to compliment the increasing population growth. As a result, the deteriorating healthcare system has forced the majority of the population to seek alternative healthcare services. Traditional health care system, which is the oldest medical system in the country, has once again become the initial avenue of accessing care for about 75% of the population. Traditional health care system is effective, cost-effective, culturally accepted, and have consistently been argued as an effective system that can aid and complement governments’s efforts at ensuring equitable health care. Yet, it remains unintegrated into the current health care structure, and hence remains untapped.
This study sought to analyze and evaluate the importance of full integration of traditional health system as a way of maximizing health care accesses, use, and availability to the public. The study identifies the historical trends of both health care systems, reviews current health policies and examines the benefits of integrating traditional health care system into the mainstream health care delivery.
The method employed in this study was qualitative one, using semi-structured interviews to gather data. Thirty-three respondents consisting of 12 individuals and 2 focus groups (from Tema Municipality), and 8 key informants (government officials and traditional healers), who uses or have knowledge about the traditional health care system, were selected for this study.
Research findings from in-depth interviews indicated that traditional health care system is widely used, inexpensive, effective with fewer side effects, and easily available and accessible to majority citizens. The results of this study also indicated that traditional health care system is culturally accepted, as it is guarded by a shared local knowledge system that instructs its proper use. The majority of respondents are overwhelming in favor of a policy driven integration process, citing the possible socio-economic benefits of that such an integrated health care system will provide.
School Location:USA - Ohio
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Keywords:ghana health policy traditional medicine herbal modern care system integration
Date of Publication:04/27/2009