Herbalists’ explanations of infertility: The case of Northern and Southern Ghana

Dorcas Ofosu-Budu, Vilma Hänninen


In sub-Saharan Africa, traditional medical practitioners also referred to as herbalists, offer diagnostics and therapeutics for diverse medical conditions irrespective of the cause. Given their traditional role as healers and repository of knowledge about medicinal plants, spirituality, customs and religion, people use their services regardless of their location, education, or socio-economic backgrounds. The aim of the study is to explore herbalists´ views and explanations on infertility and women with infertility. Using an exploratory qualitative design, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 10 herbalists, 5 from the North-East region, 2 from Ashanti region and 3 from the Greater Accra region. Following thematic analysis, findings show that infertility has multiple causes - medical, natural, spiritual and lifestyle. Some herbalists stated that everyone was created to bear children while others refuted this notion. They shared the common consensus that not everyone can have children even though they may be medically and spiritually fit. The public should be advised on the need for periodic reproductive health checks. Also, there should be a conscious, concerted efforts to gradually dissociate unhealthy explanations of infertility from the actual empirically proven realities. This would empower society to rise above those entrenched beliefs, thereby reducing the stigma associated with infertility and women with infertility. (Afr J Reprod Health 2022; 26[5]: 96-106).

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