Religious affiliation and health-seeking behavior related to non-communicable diseases among children in Ghana

John Kwasi Anarfi, Delali M Badasu, Alfred Yawson, Deborah Atobra, Aaron A Abuosi, Francis A Adzei


Objective: This study examined the relationship between adults’ religious affiliation and their attitudes as they relate to non-communicablediseases (NCDs) among children. It also looked at how attitudes in turn influence how adults perceive NCDs among children and how those affected by the disease seek care for diseased children.

Design: The study was conducted in three regions purposively selected to include all the major ethnic groups in the country and the religions they are affiliated to. The regions are Greater Accra, Ashanti and Volta. Data from 119 respondents were analysed for this study. Descriptive statistics were used to show the characteristics of the respondents. Chi-Square tests were used to show the association between background characteristics of the respondents and their health seeking behaviour. The significant level was set at 0.05.

Results: Christians constituted the largest proportion of respondents and the highest proportion of them (41.2%) were Charismatic/Pentecostals. The majority (99.2%) used biomedical treatments for their children’s condition, followed by herbal medication (50.5%), prayer camps (47.1%), herbal treatment (43.0%) and spiritual intervention (22.9%). The findings showed that seeking treatment from prayer camps, seeking herbal treatment and spiritual interventions did not vary by religious affiliations of the respondents.

Conclusions: This study showed that majority of the respondents sought biomedical treatment for their children with NCDs and more than half use herbal preparations. The findings from this study confirmed other studies that in emergency situations, many Ghanaians seek help from any source including those outside their normal range of religious activities. This probably explains why health seeking behaviour did not vary by religious affiliations. There is need for extended studies to explore this further.

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International Journal of Healthcare  ISSN 2377-7338(Print)  ISSN 2377-7346(Online)

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