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Title:Traditional Healers and Mental Health Care in Rural Ghana
Author:Tsey, Komla
Periodical:Australasian Review of African Studies
Geographic term:Ghana
Religion and Witchcraft
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Health and Nutrition
Abstract:This paper examines the role of traditional healers in the treatment of and care for people experiencing mental illness and the factors influencing care options in contemporary rural Ghana. Since the early 1990s the author has been following a cohort of traditional healers and their apprentices at Botoku, a rural community in the Kpandu district of southeastern Ghana. Two main types of traditional healers provide treatment for people experiencing mental illness among central Ewe people. People experiencing mental illness in rural Ghana are more likely to access the services of traditional healers than psychiatry services. In the context of the stresses of life associated with rapid and pervasive social change in Ghana, the ancestral village continues to provide relatively better protection against mental illness vis--vis alien urban settings. Six case studies demonstrate that the causes of mental illness are embedded in complex religious and cultural beliefs and practices, mediated by the pressures of rapid socioeconomic change in a predominantly subsistence society. Bibliogr., ref.