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Journal article

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Cogent Social Sciences

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Cogent OA


a posteriori, belief paradigm, health-seeking behaviour, holistic healing, illness perception, sociocultural structure, traditional medicine


Although the direct impact of health beliefs on unconventional medical therapies consumption are well documented, the previous empirical findings of the relationship have been much inconsistent and theoretically subtle in Ghana. Using social cognitive thesis, this paper examines how relative effects of personal health beliefs influence the use of traditional medicine in the Ashanti Region of Ghana. Drawing on a qualitative approach involving rural and urban peculiarities and 36 in-depth interviews, this research study adopts a posteriori inductive reduction model to derive broad- and sub-themes. Results suggest that health-seeking behaviour in Ghana is a socially negotiated process in which cultural beliefs play a major role in moulding the use of unconventional therapies. Perceived displeasure and pure medicalisation of western medicine push individuals into traditional medicine use. Cultural norms and health beliefs in the form of personal philosophies, desire to be part of the healing process, illness perceptions and aetiology, holistic and natural healing approaches, and perceptions on quality of care ascribe the widespread use of traditional medicine. The complexities of personal belief constructs underscore behavioural change towards traditional medicine uptake. This paper theorises that health-seeking behaviour is subject to the complex sociocultural orientation and belief paradigm. Policies targeted at improving health services delivery at the community level should be tailored to appreciate the role of traditional structure and cultural beliefs of the people.





Funding Information

This work was supported by the Institute for Research in Africa (IFRA-Nigeria) and the French Embassy in Ghana [grant number IFRA/2012]; Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA) [grant number SGRT.46/T12]. {IFRA/2012, SGRT.46/T12}

Publisher Statement

Copyright © 2016 The Author(s). This open access article is distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) 4.0 license.

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Recommended Citation

Gyasi, R. M., Asante, F., Abass, K., Yeboah, J. Y., Adu-Gyamfi, S., & Amoah, P. A. (2016). Do health beliefs explain traditional medical therapies utilisation? Evidence from Ghana. Cogent Social Sciences, 2(1), 1209995. doi: 10.1080/23311886.2016.1209995