News

    Traditional Beliefs Play Major Role in Ghanaian Health Care

    Natural occurrences are said to have supernatural implications

    Morning plant as nutritional supplement
    Morning plant as nutritional supplement

    Multimedia

    Audio
    • http://www.voanews.com//MediaAssets2/english/dalet/MANTEY-ghana-trad-health-Pt1-01dec09.mp3

    Joana Mantey

    When an African gets sick, a lack of trained doctors or medicine leads many to traditional practices, especially spiritual cures, some using religion, and appeals to ancestors.

    Western medicine attributes disease in part to germs according to Professor Samuel Danquah a psychologist at the University of Ghana.  By contrast, he says both good and bad health can have some spiritual implications for the African. 

    “When x-rays and laboratory tests are not conclusive, the African is left in a state of doubt, and solutions are sought from outside sources. If orthodox medicine doesn’t work and the African uses his belief system, that he has sinned against God, in which case he will use a priest," explains Professor Danquah.

    "If he has sinned against the lesser gods, he consults spirits and shrines.  If he believes the cause to be witchcraft, he also sees the shrine."
     

    The moringa plant is sometimes used as a nutritional supplement
    The moringa plant is sometimes used as a nutritional supplement


    Traditional priests may either prescribe herbal treatments or certain rituals.

    “Even to go and pluck the leaves, the priest has to say many incantations, without which the herbs may not work.  And before they do that, they ask [the sick person] to slaughter a goat [as a sacrifice] before the leaves can work,” says Professor Danquah. 

    He says people will pay for the priest to invoke the spirit behind the treatment.  This reinforces the African belief in the supernatural and makes the treatment more acceptable.

    For people who go to churches with health problems, Danquah says their needs are met based upon their faith.

    Apart from medical intervention, some people’s beliefs are so strong that they benefit from it according to Danquah.

    Danquah says the church works on such patients by drawing upon their faith. 

    “When you go there they will never let you go.  They have answers for all your problems.  They lay hands on you and you can see a person falling and Ghanaians are thrilled,” he says.

    Africans are not alone in using alternative treatments for illness. 

    In the West, some psychologists say spiritual and religious support can help a patient recover from certain illnesses.  Others say talk therapy helps patients cope with mental illnesses that may not have a physical basis, including depression.  

    Danquah says in Ghana, the stigma attached to mental illness prevents many people from going to psychologists. 
     

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora