Indigenous Macro-Religious Healthcare Practices: Evidence of Lessons from the Use of Divination in Northern Ghana
Thomas Azongo, PhD, University for Development Studies, Tamale Campus, Ghana
Spiritual and ancestral consultations are often ignored or outlawed from formal development programs. Research however suggests they can be useful in many ways. The study sought to explore indigenous healthcare system with emphasis on diviners, and how their work can be complemented with orthodox healthcare. This study was conducted in the Upper-East Region to explore the effect of magico-religious practices in health. The researchers used focus group discussions and interviews in the data collection. The responses were varied and reflect the understanding and knowledge of the people. Many of the respondents were of the view that they would consult diviners in the course of health-seeking. On the part of healthcare providers, while some of them were ambivalent about the efficacy of diviners in healthcare delivery arguing that the activities of diviners is inimical to healthcare practice, others had very strong views that the use of divination had many complementary roles in healthcare delivery. The paper thus concludes that the health seeking behaviour of the people reflects their cultural-orientation. The paper therefore recommends that spiritual and ancestral consultations should be integrated into the main stream healthcare system to complement our rather scarce healthcare resources.