A Case Study of Complementary Alternative Medicines in Primary Healthcare in Ghana

Raphael Nyarkotey Obu and Lawrencia Aggrey–Bluwey

Background: The embryonic field of complementary alternative medicine in Ghana is gradually taking shape. Alternative medicine in Ghana is an important system of medical practice with the legislation currently pending promulgation.
Background: The embryonic field of complementary alternative medicine in Ghana is gradually taking shape. Alternative medicine in Ghana is an important system of medical practice with the legislation currently pending promulgation.

Objectives: To support this embryonic industry for a potential role in our primary healthcare and public health system, there is a need for robust health care policy in the area of standardization coupled with strong political willpower and research in Ghana. The aim of this case study is to reflect the role of complementary alternative medicine in primary healthcare in Ghana.

Methods: The study incorporates a mixed-method engaged in integrated data analysis to investigate the challenges of practitioners of complementary alternative medicines as primary healthcare givers. Additionally, it evaluates the pull factors that drive consumers to complementary alternative remedies from the perspectives of the practitioners and finally, to evaluate the opinions of practitioners on consumers’ push factors from mainstream medicine using Ghana as a case model.

Results: This study demonstrates that there is a role of complementary alternative medicine in primary healthcare delivery as well as the public health system. However, there are multifactorial challenges in the sector as respondents outlined a lack of standardization, disunity, and mistrust between complementary alternative medicine and mainstream medical practice. Some of these opposing forces prevent recognition of these remedies in the national healthcare delivery system.

Conclusion: While our findings demonstrate that there is a role of complementary alternative medicines in our public health and primary healthcare in Ghana, we recommend collaboration between complementary alternative and conventional medical practitioners for the improvement of the quality of life of the consumers. We are of the view that unhealthy competition between the two medical systems should be controlled.

  1. INTRODUCTION
    We are motivated by the fact that brilliantmedicine in modernism as described by Franklin and Richard, [1], should usher Ghana into a new dimension of healthcare practice in these current health problems. What fuels our passion? A desire to offer service [2], devotion to heal the black race and provide brilliant medical information. It is always our hope and desire that patients get the top priority medical information in their treatment pathway. Besides, medical
    pluralism should not compromise our jurisdiction. This is supported by Chan and Chan, [3] position
    which agrees that, medicine has evolved. Hence, it must respond to the new trend or else it will become irrelevant.

services”. Patients are now “clients”. It is likely that the medicine we know will become just one part of a holistic health service which includes other practitioners currently regarded as “alternative”. Hence, we need a new medical system and complementary alternative medicines need recognition. Besides, the ageist thinking must change; including perceptions like, “are natural medicines scientific”? People have diverse opinions and conflicting ideas on health and this needs to be addressed. As advocates of postmodernist theory, with an interest in healthcare policy change, we examine the role of complementary alternative medicines in primary healthcare delivery in Ghana for possible
integration.

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We further believe in the postmodernist theory of new ideas for primary healthcare in the promotion and introduction of Complementary Alternative Medicine (CAM) into our primary healthcare delivery [3]. The World Health Organization
(WHO) defines CAM as “a broad set of health care practices that are not part of that country’s own tradition or conventional medicine and are not fully integrated into the dominant healthcare system” [4].

For instance, an earlier assertion by [5] agrees that postmodernists believe the medical practice has evolved, and therefore it is time to think beyond the box of the conventional approach to healthcare. Fast forward, [6], further opined that it is time to look at new ways of approaching healthcare such as employing complementary alternative medicines into our primary healthcare delivery system.

Postmodernists also believe that conventional views on health are not supreme and can be contested. For instance, [3], agrees that the role of the medical practitioner is already changing. They note: “Medical Practitioners are now “healthcare providers” who administer “health

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Raphael Obu. An evaluation of the factors that might influence the mortality and QOL of Ghanaian men; including the impact of cultural issues and a healthy relationship. Global Research Journal of Public Health and Epidemiology: 2014;1(2):012- 017.
ISSN-2360-7920. _____________________________________________________________________ © 2021 Obu and Bluwey; This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any
medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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