Changes and Perceived Sustainability Among Traditional Medicinal Practitioners in Ofuman, Brong Ahafo, Ghana
Meyers, Sarah Staub
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With 80% of Ghanians reliant on traditional medicine and increasing demand for medicinal plants, their continued survival and sustainability is of utmost importance for the health and culture of Ghana (WHO, 2008). The aim of this study was to record the current choices being made by Traditional Medicinal Practitioners (TMPs) in Ofuman, Brong Ahafo, Ghana and determine if the individual choices being made by TMP’s support the changes seen by academics and governments as being fundamental for sustainable development of traditional medicine. Furthermore, recording the current practices being made by TMP’s may aid in planning sustainable resource management, development, and conservation policies as well as the preservation of traditional knowledge and practices of traditional medicine in Ofuman, Brong Ahafo, Ghana. For this study, I conducted semi-structured interviews and three focus groups with 20 TMPs, which were recorded, transcribed and analyzed. Results indicate that TMPs are making and experiencing changes to their practices, traditional medicine (TM) in general and recognize the steps the government has made to promote TM but request more trainings, particularly on the propagation of plants, and financial assistance for the development of their herbal medicine. Furthermore, certain assumptions the government has made regarding a lack of knowledge on cultivation and sustainable collection of medicinal plants, and a lack of environmental awareness and misidentification are not supported by this study.Plant availability has continued to decrease but respondents have largely not begun cultivating or propagating the medicinal plants they use, although some have begun doing practices that will aid in the conservation of the plants they use or their knowledge on TM. This research project allowed us to understand the choices being made on a local level, which could be used to create effective policy guidelines. This study advocates enhancing training of the propagation of plants , especially in rural areas.