Ghana is going through an epidemiologic transition. Communicable diseases such as HIV/AIDS, malaria, cholera, tuberculosis (TB), yellow fever and typhoid cause a high burden of disease, but the prevalence of non-communicable diseases is increasing. Consequently, diabetes mellitus and high blood pressure are other major causes of mortality among adults. In addition, road traffic accidents contribute to high morbidity and mortality rates.
Healthcare delivery in Ghana is pluralistic, consisting of traditional and biomedical medicine. Traditional medicine (TM) in Ghana includes not only herbal remedies for specific diseases, but also folk knowledge, traditions and values, health behavior rules, patterns and identified personnel and structures. There are many different types of healers in the traditional medical system. The most common practitioners are the priest and priestess who use techniques such as divination and rituals in healing practices. Other healers seen in Ghana are herbalists and ‘faith healers’ who mainly use prayers, fasting or occultism. The private and NGO sector, including the Christian Health Association, provides over 40% of biomedical health care in Ghana.
The National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) was introduced in 2005 to improve financial accessibility to healthcare. This scheme is tax-based and allows every registered member to be supported by the scheme to receive affordable health care in accredited hospitals and other health facilities. Over 50% of Ghana’s population is registered and in 2008 free maternal care was included in the range of service covered by the NHIS.