Jun 15, 2024  
2023-2024 Catalog 
2023-2024 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

ANT 231 - Health and Healing in Ghana


Sickness in Ghana has traditionally been viewed as an illness that affects a person’s entire being, including the spiritual and the supernatural realms. It takes more than just treatment of physical systems to restore health.  In Ghana, herbal medicine remains a prevalent method of health care, and the World Health Organization estimates that at least 60% of Ghanaians rely on herbal medicines.   A traditional healer, defined as a person who is recognized by his/her community as a competent healthcare provider, uses herbs, animal as well as mineral substances for patient care. Traditional methods are based on social, cultural, and religious principles, including knowledge, attitudes and beliefs regarding the physical, mental and social well-being a community. 

Although biomedicine is the most popular medical system in the world due to globalization and Western hegemony, this experiential learning course introduces students to an array of conceptualizations of health, wellness, and illness in the Ghanaian context as well as the epidemiology of diseases that are prevalent in Ghana. Through lectures, discussions and shadowing, this course explores the socioeconomic and political ecological factors in the prevalence of diseases like malaria, typhoid, and yellow fever, health policy and implementation within biomedical settings, and traditional Ghanaian healing practices such as bone setting, plant-based medicines and sorcery/shamanism and its illness etiologies, and diagnostic and treatment methodologies. Faculty at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Technology and Science (KNUST) will also discuss case studies on traditional practices, allied health, and the challenges and efficacy of both biomedical and traditional medicines in Ghana.


Satisfies major requirements in Anthropology, Africana Studies as well as Public Health (discussed in consultation with Patrick Baron).

Counts as 200-level elective requirements for Anthropology and the Social Thought and Institutions category of the Africana major

Satisfies elective requirement for Anthropology minor.

Satisfies elective requirement for the Public Health Interdisciplinary minor.

Satisfies Social-Scientific Thought requirement

Prerequisites & Notes
This course is part of the summer Davidson in Ghana Program.