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Joan Costa-Font and Mario Macis

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780262035651

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262035651.001.0001

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Cultural Attitudes and the “Traditional Medicines Paradox”: Evidence from Ghana and the Philippines

Cultural Attitudes and the “Traditional Medicines Paradox”: Evidence from Ghana and the Philippines

Chapter:
(p.245) 11 Cultural Attitudes and the “Traditional Medicines Paradox”: Evidence from Ghana and the Philippines
Source:
Social Economics
Author(s):

Joan Costa-Font

Azusa Sato

Publisher:
The MIT Press
DOI:10.7551/mitpress/9780262035651.003.0011

Traditional medicines continue to be widely used worldwide despite the increasing availability of modern medicines. We term this phenomenon the ‘traditional medicines paradox’. We investigate a potential explanation for such a paradox, namely the presence of ‘entrenched cultural beliefs’ in explaining continued use. As such, this paper draws upon unique data collected in Ghana to examine the impact of 6 attitudes towards traditional medicines and healers on utilisation. To further test the importance of attitudes, we look at data from the Philippines. In both cases, cultural attitudes such as perceived healer knowledge, trust, belief in ability to cure, and acceptability are found to be significantly associated with utilisation. Hence it is unlikely that traditional medicines will be supplanted simply by increasing access to modern drugs as they are not perceived to be substitutes and the systems exhibit divergent logic.

Keywords:   Traditional medicine paradox, Entrenched cultural beliefs, Ghana, Philippines, Perceived healer knowledge, Trust, Cultural attitudes, Divergent logic

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