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Journal article

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Qualitative Studies on Health and Well-being

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Co-Action Publishing


a posteriori, Ashanti Region, cultural belief, health-seeking behaviour, pull factors, traditional medicine


The impact of strong cultural beliefs on specific reasons for traditional medicine (TRM) use among individuals and populations has long been advanced in health care and spatio-medical literature. Yet, little has been done in Ghana and the Ashanti Region in particular to bring out the precise “pull” and “push” relative influences on TRM utilization. With a qualitative research approach involving rural and urban character, the study explored health beliefs and motivations for TRM use in Kumasi Metropolis and Sekyere South District, Ghana. The study draws on data from 36 in-depth interviews with adults, selected through theoretical sampling. We used the a posteriori inductive reduction model to derive broad themes and subthemes. The “pull factors”—perceived benefits in TRM use vis-à-vis the “push factors”—perceived poor services of the biomedical treatments contributed to the growing trends in TRM use. The result however indicates that the “pull factors,” viz.—personal health beliefs, desire to take control of one’s health, perceived efficacy, and safety of various modalities of TRM—were stronger in shaping TRM use. Poor access to conventional medicine accounted for the differences in TRM use between rural and urban areas. Understanding the treatment and health-seeking behaviour of a cultural-related group is critical for developing and sustaining traditional therapy in Ghana.



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Funding Information

The research on which this paper is based was conducted as part of the Master of Philosophy Thesis. We are grateful to the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (Grant #. SGRT.46/T12), Institute for Research in Africa (IFRA-Nigeria), and the French Embassy in Ghana for providing funding for the study. These funding and scholarship packages were granted to the corresponding author. The funders however had no role in designing the study, collecting and analysing data, manuscript preparation, or decision to publish the manuscript. {SGRT.46/T12}

Publisher Statement

Copyright © 2016 R. M. Gyasi et al. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, allowing third parties to copy and redistribute thematerial in any medium or format and to remix, transform, and build upon the material for any purpose, even commercially, provided the original work is properly cited and states its license.

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Recommended Citation

Gyasi, R. M., Asante, F., Yeboah, J. Y., Abass, K., Mensah, C. M., & Siaw, L. P. (2016). Pulled in or pushed out: Understanding the complexities of motivation for alternative therapies use in Ghana. Qualitative Studies on Health and Well-being, 11, 29667. doi: 10.3402/qhw.v11.29667