Understanding usage and preference for health care therapies in a Ghanaian context: A pluralistic perspective

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Studies of health care and health-care seeking behaviour in Ghana have mainly shown that many patients tend to use indigenous medicine to address their health care needs. These studies have cited affordability, acceptability, availability, and accessibility as major factors behind the predominant use of indigenous medicine. Nevertheless, in these studies, researchers often ignore the third health care option–self-care, usually subjugated under the indigenous medical system. Since the mid-1980s, both biomedical and indigenous health care systems have witnessed transformations that have shaped and changed their modes of operation, as well as the cost of treatment. In light of this, the author seeks to understand the motivations behind the preference for and use of self-care, professional biomedical care, and indigenous forms of care in the context of Ghana’s health care system. A qualitative, in-depth interview technique was used for data gathering. Findings from the study revealed that time and cost of treatment were major factors accounting for the predominant use of self-care. The author concludes that the findings challenge the long-held belief that biomedicine is not widely accepted by people in Ghana compared with indigenous medicine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)288-300
Number of pages13
JournalNorsk Geografisk Tidsskrift
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 20 2017


  • Ghana
  • biomedicine
  • health care
  • indigenous health care
  • self-care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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