Caring for the Seriously Sick in a Ghanaian Society

Glimpses from the Past

Deborah Atobrah


Since the pre-colonial period, the family in Ghana has been the main provider of care for people with serious illnesses. It is commonly suggested that in the past, family care was well organized, effective, and reliable. However, despite its apparent relevance and endurance, family care in the past has not been given adequate scholarly attention. Using primary ethno-historic data from literary and living sources, this article presents an analysis of responses to the phenomenon of chronic non-communicable illness among the Ga people of Ghana from a historical perspective. The study is important because it provides an overview of past caring practices, which could form the basis for appreciating the extent of socio-cultural transformation in the care of the chronically sick in Ghana today.

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