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Journal of Integrative Medicine ›› 2021, Vol. 19 ›› Issue (1): 29-35.doi: 10.1016/j.joim.2020.08.008

• Original Clinical Research • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Removing barriers to healthcare through an intercultural healthcare system: Focus group evidence

Prince Pepraha,  Williams Agyemang-Duahb, Abdul Wahid Arimiyawc, Anthony Kwame Morganc, Stephen Uwumbordo Nachibic   

  1. a
    Social Policy Research Centre, University of New South Wales, Sydney 2052, Australia
    b
    Department of Planning, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi 233, Ghana
    c
    Department of Geography and Rural Development, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi 233, Ghana
  • Received:2020-06-29 Accepted:2020-08-18 Online:2021-01-12 Published:2021-01-12

Objective
Barriers to healthcare in Ghana are multifaceted. Many people, including patients and providers, face them at different levels. To address these barriers, there is a need to explore the role of an intercultural healthcare system. This paper explores and provides the first evidence on ways through which an intercultural healthcare system can reduce the sociocultural and economic barriers to healthcare in Ghana.

Methods
Focus group discussions with 35 participants comprising 17 healthcare users, 11 formal healthcare providers and 7 alternative healthcare providers were conducted to gather data. Thematic analyses were performed on the transcribed data and presented based on a posteriori inductive reduction approach.

Results
Findings reveal that an intercultural healthcare system in Ghana can help reduce barriers to healthcare, especially cultural, social and economic barriers, by fostering an enhanced relationship between culture and healthcare, promoting affordable healthcare and promoting effective communication between healthcare providers and users. Weak institutional support, lack of strong political will and commitment, lack of training to meet standards of practice, poor registration and regulatory measures, inadequate general acceptance by biomedical providers and a perceived negative perception of the intercultural healthcare policy inhibit implementation of an intercultural healthcare system in Ghana.

Conclusion
The support for intercultural healthcare system and the agreement on its perceived ability to reduce social, cultural and economic healthcare barriers for service users offer an opportunity for policy makers to demonstrate a stronger political will and improved political commitment for effective education and training, enforcement of regulatory measures, improved alternative medical literacy through the inclusion of intercultural healthcare medical school curricula across the country, and ensure increased community engagement.

Key words: Medicine, traditional, Culturally competent care, Intercultural health, Healthcare barriers, Focus groups, Perspectives, Ghana

[1] Razak Mohammed Gyasi, Adjoa Afriyie Poku, Simon Boateng, Padmore Adusei Amoah, Alhassan Abdul Mumin, Jacob Obodai, Williams Agyemang-Duah. Integration for coexistence? Implementation of intercultural health care policy in Ghana from the perspective of service users and providers. Journal of Integrative Medicine, 2017, 15(1): 44-55.
[2] Irene A. Kretchy, Harry A. Okere, Joseph Osafo, Barima Afrane, Joseph Sarkodie, Philip Debrah. Perceptions of traditional, complementary and alternative medicine among conventional healthcare practitioners in Accra, Ghana: Implications for integrative healthcare. Journal of Integrative Medicine, 2016, 14(5): 380-388.
[3] Yu-tong Fei, Jian-ping Liu, He Yu, Xia Wan. Introduction to the consolidated criteria for reporting qualitative research. Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine, 2008, 6(2): 115-118.
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