According to WHO about 80% of developing countries depend on traditional medicines for their primary health care needs. In Ghana, traditional medicine, particularly herbal medicines, is an important component of the health care system of the people.
In 2019, Ghana launched a pilot program in government hospitals where medical herbalists where made available to supplement and improve healthcare delivery, trained to incorporate scientific methods into their work. The aim is to develop traditional medicines to the levels of countries like China.
There are many indigenous cultures and communities in Ghana that possess a great store of traditional knowledge about herbal medicines for treatment of various human ailments.
Ghana’s Centre for Plant Medicine Research researches and develops traditional medicines and has collaborated with traditional health practitioners since 1975. The center is in the process of evaluating herbal products and medicines which have antiviral properties, it is especially concerned with products already in use that can be repurposed for this pandemic.
Traditional medicine is holistic in nature and involves both physical and spiritual dimensions of healing. These means may be by divinations, rituals, incantations, visions trances, dream, and the intervention of ancestral spirits.
Accra’s voodoo priest Christopher Voncujovi – who is committed to preserving the ancient spiritual and herbal practice of voodoo, which originated in West Africa. Voncujovi believes in the power of herbal medicine to boost immunity and prevent COVID-19. Although large gatherings are customary in voodoo practices to conduct a ritual, Voncujovi has been encouraging African traditional practitioners to stop hosting large gatherings to avoid the spread of COVID-19. When the first cases of Covid-19 were found in Ghana in March, Voncujovi asked his voodoo spirits what he should do for protection. He says much like voodoo believes the world is made up of visible and invisible entities, the coronavirus is an invisible force, but interacting with the human world. Because of the Coronavirus Voncujovi is not able to host a ritual of have a healing session with his patients this very moment. He has been hosting Facebook Live sessions from his shrine to talk about voodoo practices and the ways to prevent COVID-19 by boosting the immunity with local herbs.