By Reena RoyACCRA, Ghana-Vida Slater, 40, spends her days at Timber Market, in the medicine section,surrounded by buffalo hide, snakeskin, dog skulls, dehydrated monkey brains, and bushels of herbs. At her small wooden stand, she moves swiftly with authority, arrangingand rearranging her products in the same methodology she’s employed for 25 years. As acustomer describes his wife’s high fever, incessant vomiting, and joint pain, she simplynods while quickly grabbing, as if by muscle memory, various leaves and sticks meant tocure malaria. Her mother, sitting nearby, oversees the transactions and gossips with passersby.
“Some people don’t believe in herbal healing and it’s very bad. Before Westernmedicine came about, we had this. It’s their opinion and in life everyone is entitled towhat he or she believes, but it’s very wrong. Tradition must always go on,” Slater said asshe fingered a thunderstone, a spiritual rock that ‘falls from the sky from God’.In 2009, 71% of Ghanaians utilized herbal medicine, according to a studyconducted by the Ministry of Health. This can be attributed to roughly half the populationliving without access to modern medicine. Because there are only about 2,000 doctors toserve 24 million people, Ghanaian government and healthcare officials are piloting theimplementation of trained herbalists in hospitals. Their main goal is to preserve andregulate this use of indigenous knowledge by using World Health Organization as thesource for global policies, and China and India as inspiration, both of which have