Traditional Teachings and Practices for Child Health in Ghana

Eva Tagoe-Darko, Razak Mohammed Gyasi

Abstract


Majority of rural denizens have limited access to modern medical as well as other health facilities. In the absence of adequate, readily accessible modern medical facilities, traditional teachings and practices concerning child health have proved to be a useful substitute and/or complement. Using qualitative data from selected communities in Central, Greater Accra and Ashanti Regions of Ghana, the paper examined traditional teachings and practices for child health. The results indicated a high level of utilization of both modern and traditional medical services and practices for child illnesses which feign complementary. Information gathered through in-depth interviews, focus group discussions, narratives and conversations found that each society hands down mores from generation to generation by teaching certain attitudes, practices, beliefs, legends, customs, habits and prodigy. The study advanced that there are traditional beliefs and practices in all areas of life, including health in general and child health in parts. These practices include breastfeeding, massaging and postpartum sexual abstinence, for the health of the suckling infant and toddler, while socialization of good hygiene and nutrition practice is initiated and encouraged for the growing child. These reflect the values and beliefs held by members of the community for periods often spanning generations. Such practices recognize the critical importance of children’s right to health and survival, an issue at the heart of the UN charter on the right of the child. These results have implications for health policy and planning regarding the incorporation of traditional health teachings and practices into the child health aspect of Primary Health Care programmes and the UN convention on the rights of the child.

Keywords: traditional teachings and practices, child health, breastfeeding, postpartum sexual abstinence, Ghana.


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ISSN (Paper)2224-5766 ISSN (Online)2225-0484

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