Unconventional medical practices among Ghanaian students : a university-based survey

Razak Mohammed GYASI, Williams AGYEMANG-DUAH, Charlotte Monica MENSAH, Francis ARTHUR, Roselyn TORKORNOO, Padmore Adusei AMOAH

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Research on unconventional medical practices among students has proliferated lately in the global space, hitherto, little is known explicitly in Ghana. This paper teases out insights for recent utilisation patterns of traditional medical therapies at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Ghana. A sample of 754, randomly selected undergraduates were involved in a retrospective cross-sectional survey. Data were analysed using multivariate logistic regression and Pearson's χ2 test with p < 0.05 as significant. Overall prevalence of traditional therapies consumption was 89.1% in the last 12 months. Herbal-based products (67%), prayer healing (15%) and body-mind therapies (11%) were principally used and, accessed through purchases from pharmacy shops (29%) and encounter with faith healers (26%). Although students' knowledge on traditional therapies was acquired through family members (50%) and media (23%), literary materials remained significant information routes for Science related students compared to the Non-science related counterparts (p < 0.001). Pursuing Non-science-related programme [odds ratio (OR) 6.154 (95% confidence interval (CI) 3.745–10.111; p < 0.001)] and having Christian faith [OR 2.450 (95% CI 1.359–4.415; p = 0.003)] were strongly associated with students' traditional therapies use. Although students exhibited positive attitude towards unconventional therapies, there is an urgent need to validate the quality of traditional therapies through randomised clinical trials and regulatory practices to ensure quality control. Health forces should intensify efforts towards intercultural health care system in Ghana.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)126-132
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine
Issue number1
Early online date30 Jun 2016
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2017


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