Journal Articles

Religion and Health: exploration of attitudes and health perceptions of faith healing users in urban Ghana

Health and Systems for Health

Background: The main aim of the study was to explore the attitudes and health perceptions of faith healing users in Kumasi Metropolis, Ghana. This has become necessary because faith healing practice is an important area but remains neglected in the health care literature. In an age when biowestern medicine is touted as the cure for most diseases, understanding how and why individuals seek alternative treatment, specifically faith healing modalities may help to develop more effective health care interventions.

Methods: We employed exploratory study design of purely qualitative research approach involving 40 conveniently selected participants from four different purposively selected faith healing centers to get a maximum variation of experiences and opinions on the time of consultation, perceived effectiveness and challenges of faith healing practices in Ghana. In-depth interviews were conducted from 10th June to 30th July 2017. Data were thematically analyzed and presented based on the a posteriori inductive reduction approach.

Results: The main findings were that faith healers served as the first port of call for disease curing and prevention for most users. Consumers of faith healing perceived their health status to be good due to the perceived effectiveness of faith healing for curing of health problems. However, users faced challenges such as stigmatization and victimization in seeking health care.

Conclusion: This study has provided the first baseline evidence in this important area of inquiry that has been neglected in the scholarly discourse in Ghana. By implication, users’ positive attitudes and perceptions toward faith healing call for integration policies that allow formal medical services to have open idea to faith healing practices in
Ghana.

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CONTRIBUTORS

Postdoctoral Research Scientist

RAZAK M GYASI

Dr. Razak Gyasi is a postdoctoral research scientist in the…

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