Original Research

Perspectives in musculoskeletal injury management by traditional bone setters in Ashanti, Ghana

Anthony K. Edusei, Frances E. Owusu-Ansah, Joslin A. Dogbe, Julia Morgan, Kofi Sarpong
African Journal of Disability | Vol 4, No 1 | a97 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ajod.v4i1.97 | © 2015 Anthony K. Edusei, Frances E. Owusu-Ansah, Joslin A. Dogbe, Julia Morgan, Kofi Sarpong | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 07 November 2013 | Published: 16 July 2015

About the author(s)

Anthony K. Edusei, Department of Community Health, School of Medical Sciences, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana
Frances E. Owusu-Ansah, Department of Behavioural Sciences, School of Medical Sciences, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana, Ghana
Joslin A. Dogbe, Department of Child Health, School of Medical Sciences, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana
Julia Morgan, Honorary Lecturer, School of Public Health (Laureate Online Education), University of Liverpool, United Kingdom
Kofi Sarpong, The Samuel Wellington Botwey Foundation (SWEB) Foundation, Ghana


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Abstract

Background: The popularity of the services of traditional bone setters (TBS) in Ghana as an alternative health care requires exploration and documentation of the perspectives of providers and users. 

Objective: To explore and document the perspectives of providers and users of the services of TBS in the management of musculoskeletal injuries in the Ashanti region, Ghana.

Methods: From the social constructivist and qualitative approach, in-depth interviews were used to explore the perspectives of eight TBS and 16 users of their services, selected purposively through snowballing. Thematic content analysis (TCA) was employed.

Results: High recovery rate, warm reception, prompt attention, and the relatively lower charges, are reported to motivate the patronage of the services of TBS for the management of fractures in the legs, arms, ribs, joint bones dislocations, waist and spinal cord problems. The TBS combined traditional and orthodox procedures, using plant and animal-based materials, beliefs, spirituality (God-given) and physical therapy in the management of musculoskeletal injuries. No adverse experience was reported by either the providers or users of the traditional management methods.

Conclusion: With plant and animal-based materials, TBS are observed to combine traditional and orthodox procedures to confidently manage musculoskeletal injuries to the satisfaction of their highly motivated patrons. Although over 60% of the TBS attribute the healing power behind their practice to God, the rest do not discount the role of spiritual therapy. Further studies expanded to include the perspectives of non-users of the services of the TBS will authenticate the findings of this study.


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