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Rationales for traditional medicines utilisation and its equity implications: the case of Ghana

Sato, Azusa (2012) Rationales for traditional medicines utilisation and its equity implications: the case of Ghana. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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Individuals all over the world continue to utilise traditional health care, but there is very little understanding of why this is the case, especially in light of increased availability and accessibility of effective pharmaceutical medicine and other modern technologies. The overarching objective of this thesis is to investigate rationales for utilisation of traditional medicines, using Ghana as a case study. This thesis argues that institutional constraints and cultural preferences inherited from the past shape pluralistic health systems and, consequently, individual health-seeking behaviour. The thesis fuses investigative approaches from different disciplines (e.g. anthropology, economics, psychology) and uses statistical methods to analyse four aspects of medicines utilisation: the role of culture, income, the possibility of a placebo effect in use and finally, the distributional consequences manifested in utilisation inequities. Findings indicate that cultural attitudes and income constraints are associated with use of traditional systems, and users report high rates of satisfaction that are attributable to procedural factors. Inequities are shown to differ according to whether traditional medicines are included in analysis. Generally, this thesis advocates a holistic approach with respect to health systems, as opposed to interpreting traditional systems as simply appendages to modern health care systems; the latter perspective is liable to yield observers only a partial story of medicines utilisation and its impact on equity.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2012 Azusa Sato
Library of Congress subject classification: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine
Sets: Departments > Social Policy
Supervisor: Costa-Font, Joan

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