A lecturer at the Sociology and Anthropology Department of the University of Cape Coast (UCC) , Dr. Mrs. Georgina Yaa Oduro, has noted with concern that faith- based healing through prayers, fasting and use of objects such as holy water and anointing oil was still highly patronised by Ghanaians.
She said Africans lived in a pluralistic context where its cosmology was governed by a high degree of supernatural and superstitious beliefs and practices that suggested that nothing happened on its own without causation.
Dr. Mrs. Oduro was addressing participants at a round table discussion on Wednesday to close a three-day colloquium held in Cape Coast by the UCC Faculty of Arts on the theme Communication, Culture and Health.
She said culture played a huge role in patient compliance, the general healing and the curative process, the cultural competence and sensitivity of healthcare professionals and was therefore key in successful health outcomes.
Dr. Mrs. Oduro said cultural differences affected patients’ attitude towards healthcare and their ability to understand, manage and cope with the course of any illness, meaning of diagnosis and consequences of medical treatment.
She said due to taboos and cultural beliefs in certain societies, some women could not have access to contraceptives without their husbands consent for reason of infidelity, an act she noted puts the health of such women at risk.
The lecturer stated that in some societies, expectant mothers and girls were prohibited from eating certain nutritious foods like snails, meat, fish, eggs, and milk because of erroneous belief that they were not good for the mothers and unborn babies.
She said the secret of every nation’s health depended on the homes of people and therefore appealed to the general public to maintain a healthy home in other to have a health society and ultimately a healthy country.
The Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Prof Dora Edu-Buandoh, said the faculty believed that health was closely related to humanities because individuals lived in cultures and communicated in varied modes.
Prof. Edu-Buandoh said apart from orthodox medicine, health related communication and projects, were also the need to research into the relationship between cultures of the people and health as a their contribution to health development of the society.
She called for an all-inclusive effort in making the middle income status of the country to be felt in the society and expressed gratitude to all the sponsors for making the colloquium a success.