Ghanaian Traditional Healers: The Effect of Formalized Training on Their Level of Knowledge of Family Planning and Contraceptive Techniques and Their Attitudes towards Collaboration with Biomedical Institutions

Juno C. Lawrence, Emory University

Despite the controversy surrounding the use of traditional medicines, in Africa, upwards of 80% of the population uses some form of traditional medicine to meet their primary health care needs. Through the completion of twenty-two in-depth interviews with Ghanaian traditional healers and participant observation of their regional meetings, this study explores the effect of formalized training on their level of knowledge of family planning and contraceptive techniques. Respondents were also asked to discuss their attitudes towards collaboration with biomedical practitioners. Results show that formalized training – usually focused on the comprehension of basic biomedical concepts – did influence the overall reproductive health knowledge of traditional healers, as well as the family planning options that they presented to their clients. Furthermore, results indicate that there may be a significant relationship between the formal reproductive health training that a healer receives and their perceived ability to work efficiently alongside biomedical practitioners.

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Presented in Poster Session 6