Traditional Reproductive Health and Family Planning Practices among the Dagomba

  • Mr. Current: College of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, University of Saskatchewan. Previous: Department of Language and Culture, UiT The Arctic University of Norway, Tromso https://orcid.org/0000-0003-3231-3100
  • Professor College of Nursing, University of Saskatchewan
Keywords: Traditional knowledge, reproductive health, sexuality, Dagomba, Ghana

Abstract

Background: This paper is a qualitative descriptive study of traditional reproductive health (RH) and family planning practices among Ghana's Dagomba. The purpose of the study was to examine the Dagomba traditional knowledge of RH practices and beliefs and their relevance in the context of modern health practices. Methods: Data for this study was gathered through qualitative methods, including individual in-depth interviews, focus group discussions, and the use of a qualitative questionnaire among 37 participants. Thematic analysis was undertaken. Results: In examining the Dagomba traditional knowledge of RH practices, it was recognized that the concept of RH extends across the life continuum reaching beyond the sexually active adult population. The RH practices are based on the Dagomba health beliefs and value systems regarding sexuality and the body's functioning. The Dagomba’s health philosophies and practices regarding pregnancy, delivery, breastfeeding, and sexuality have public and preventive health functions, including conflicting positions. The typical traditional RH and FP practices include abstinence, rhythm, prolonged breastfeeding, and postpartum abstinence. Conclusion: We posit that when traditional knowledge of RH is examined critically by modern health experts, it could help us understand why people from different cultures have varying interpretations and uptake of modern RH practices. Thus, we invite biomedical practitioners to be culturally sensitive and incorporate relevant knowledge of traditional RH practices into their current health education efforts.

Author Biographies

Mr., Current: College of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, University of Saskatchewan. Previous: Department of Language and Culture, UiT The Arctic University of Norway, Tromso

Abukari Kwame is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Interdisciplinary Studies at the College of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies at the University of Saskatchewan with an interest in language use in nurse-patient interaction and patient rights. Kwame holds two M.Phil degrees, one in Indigenous Studies and the other in English Linguistics. His research interests include language use in social interaction, First/Second language acquisition, traditional knowledge, indigenous research methodology, and qualitative research methods

Professor, College of Nursing, University of Saskatchewan

Pammla M. Petrucka is a professor in Nursing at the College of Nursing, University of Saskatchewan. Pammla is an international research scholar with her experiences spanning from Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean. Pammla has published extensively in the field of nursing. Her research interests are vast, including child and maternal health, Indigenous peoples’ health, global health, and vulnerable populations, with extensive experiences in qualitative research, and indigenous research methodologies. Pammla is a co-editor of BMC Nursing and a reviewer to many other academic journals.

Published
2021-04-12
Section
Articles