Online Program

Ghanaian traditional medicine in middle Tennessee: Practitioners' perspectives

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Gloria Hamilton, PhD, Psychology, Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, TN
Introduction: An estimated 70% of Ghanaians use traditional medicine (TM) (e.g., herbs, melegueta, neem, etc.) in their treatment and/or prevention of health related issues (World Health Organization, 2001). In a 2008 investigation of attitudes and use of traditional medicine by Ghanaians in Canada, Barimah and van Teijlingen found that approximately 73% of the Ghanaian immigrants held positive attitudes toward Ghanaian traditional medicine (GTM). From such findings it may be inferred that use of GTM by Ghanaian immigrants also remains significant. Unfortunately, scant literature exists on the prevalence of GTM use by Ghanaians in the United States. This study examines attitudes toward and general use of traditional medicine among Ghanaians residing in middle Tennessee.

Methods: Semi-structured interviews held with key informants (e.g., herbalists, practitioners, traditional healers, etc.) that work within Ghanaian communities in middle Tennessee are utilized. Specifically, participants are asked to provide information about GTM, its use in Ghana and middle Tennessee, and perceived factors influencing its use in each location.

Implications: Findings provide insight into the use of GTM by Ghanaians residing in middle Tennessee. Results necessitate further investigations into decision making-processes regarding use of conventional and/or alternative or traditional medical systems, particularly in instances of dual utilization. Understanding such practices allows health care professionals and educators to better serve their clientele with respect to their cultural beliefs and health-related behaviors. The conduction of this research will also serve as an introduction to future in-depth investigations into specific GTM practices utilized by Ghanaian immigrants across Tennessee and nationally.

Learning Areas:

Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe practitioners' perspectives of Ghanaian traditional medicine use among Ghanaians residing in middle Tennessee. Identify types of Ghanaian traditional medicine used by Ghanaians in middle Tennessee.

Keyword(s): Immigrants, Alternative Medicine/Therapies

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have participated in research endeavors investigating the health behaviors of Ghanaian adolescents and adults.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.