Sociocultural hegemony, gendered identity and use of traditional and complementary medicine in Ghana

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Journal article

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Women & Health

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Advance publication

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Femininity, gender, Ghana, masculinity, public health, sociocultural hegemony, traditional and complementary medicine


This study investigated gender differences in the use of traditional and complementary medicine (TCM) in Ghana. Using an interviewer-administered questionnaire, we collected data from March to June 2013 from 324 randomly sampled adults in the Ashanti region. The prevalence of TCM use in the prior 12 months was 86 percent. Females constituted the majority (61 percent) of TCM users. Female TCM users were more likely than male users to have had only a basic education, been traders (p ˂ .0001), and have health insurance (p ˂ .05). Using multiple logistic regression, TCM use was associated with urban residence for females (odds ratio [OR] = 7.82; 95 percent confidence interval [CI]: 1.28–47.83) but negatively related for males (OR = 0.032; 95 percent CI: 0.002–0.63). Being self-employed was associated with TCM use among males (OR = 7.62; 95 percent CI: 1.22–47.60), while females’ TCM use was associated with higher income (OR = 3.72; 95 percent CI: 1.21–11.48) and perceived efficacy of TCM (OR = 5.60; 95 percent CI: 1.78–17.64). The African sociocultural structure vests household decision-making power in men but apparently not regarding TCM use, and the factors associated with TCM use largely differed by gender. These findings provide ingredients for effective health policy planning and evaluation. Adoption and modernization of TCM should apply a gendered lens.



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Gyasi, R. M., Buor, D., Adu-Gyamfi, S., Adjei, P. O.-W., & Amoah, P. A. (2017). Sociocultural hegemony, gendered identity and use of traditional and complementary medicine in Ghana. Women & Health, Advance publication, 1-18. doi: 10.1080/03630242.2017.1321608