The Integration of Herbal with Biomedical Medicine in Ghana


End date: 30 June, 2014 Project type: BSU Students' Master Thesis Project code: mhh13-1B1 BSU Countries: Ghana Lead institution: University of Copenhagen (UCPH), Denmark Project coordinator: Millicent Addai Boateng

Project summary


Upon estimations provided in studies and according to WHO, 80% of Africans use traditional medicine(1). 70% of Ghanaians are known to use herbal medicine(2) and currently in Ghana, there are institutions recognized by the government for testing herbal medicine(3) and as well some government health facilities have implemented herbal medicine parallel to biomedical treatments (Integration). Although the therapeutic nature of herbal medicine may be scientifically substantive(4) more research is needed in Ghana to find out how well herbal medicine can be integrated with biomedicine in hospitals .
Objective: This study seeks to explore this integration process by describing the process in Kumasi South Hospital, (KSH) and also investigate the perceptions and attitudes of health workers and patients as well as challenges and motivations of the integration.
Methodology: This qualitative phenomenological exploratory study was conducted using a purposive and snowball sampling method, aimed at maximum variation. This study design included qualitative fieldwork which involved a focus group discussion with health workers, in-depth interviews with patients and other selected health workers, key informants interview with management as well as observations.
Findings: Perceptions on the type of health system in the hospital varied among all health workers and management, while management and medical herbalists viewed it as integrated, it seemed parallel to biomedical practitioners. Perceptions of patients on illnesses and its treatments varied as well in the integration system. The other finding was on the fact that there was no policy regulating the integration in the hospital.
Conclusion: From the findings, the absence of a regulatory policy for the integration led to different perceptions on the integration and its implementation. Policy is one key recommendation for a successful integration.
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