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Integrating traditional medicine into Ghana's healthcare system is essential to improving the delivery of health services in the country, argues Kofi Akosah-Sarpong in this article in the Accra Mail.

Ghana, like many developing countries, faces a serious shortage of health workers, and their frequent strikes for better pay add to the strain on the healthcare system.

The author suggests this burden could be lightened by Ghana's roughly 45,000 traditional healers, most of whom are licensed through national practitioners associations.

The practice of traditional and alternative medicine is culturally accepted and accessible to 80 per cent of Africans. In Ghana a large proportion of the population rely exclusively on this type of healthcare, particularly in rural areas.

Traditional practices such as homeopathy, naturopathy and osteopathy are already better integrated into Ghana's health system than in other African countries — and could play a key role in primary healthcare.

But recent efforts to decentralise the healthcare system in Ghana have failed to integrate traditional medicine, especially at local levels, reproaches Akosah-Sarpong.

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