1. Owusu, Benson

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Ghana, a country in the western part of Africa, has a population of approximately 31 million with a very rich culture. The population is mainly composed of three main sects of religion: Christianity, Islam, and the traditional religions. According to the 2021 census of Ghanaians, 71.3% are Christians, 19.9% Muslims, 3.2% Traditionalists, and 3.6% belong to other forms of religion. All these groups believe in God but worship him differently. Ghanaians are very religious and believe that whatever happens to them has a spiritual basis; they also recognize the role of the supernatural in healing diseases.

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History has it that, during the precolonial era, the population relied on the traditional priest and the use of herbs for healing, as sickness was believed to be caused by spirits. The traditional leader and herbalist either employed herbs or incantations to exorcise the spirit-or both-to heal the sick. Some people were healed, others were not!


Also, during the colonial era, people had to travel several miles to missionary hospitals to seek healthcare if the priest's traditional healing method did not work. While the sick were at the missionary hospitals, health professionals shared the saving grace of Jesus with them while using medical approaches. Many of these patients accepted Jesus as Savior, which is now evident in the religious statistics stated earlier.


Health evangelism uses the fundamental laws of health to speak to souls. Health professionals in Ghana employ two main ways to reach their society with health evangelism: the hospital and the community. Though it is common for pastors and evangelists to come to the hospitals to share the Word of God with sick people every morning-this is called morning devotion in Ghana-it is also not uncommon to see health professionals playing this role. Though some physicians occasionally do this, this health evangelism role is mostly played by Christian nurses, as they spend more time with the patients. Before giving morning medications, the nurses lead patients through a session of prayer and worship, and the Word of God is shared. Those who want to give their lives to Christ are led to do so.


From personal experience as a health evangelist, the prayers and words of encouragement given to patients offer them hope and help them to forgive themselves and those who may have wronged them. Ghanaians tend to have confidence in the nurses providing this spiritual care and may open up to them, contributing to an earlier recovery or peaceful death.


Another common means of health evangelizing is through community health evangelism. During Christian festivities such as Christmas or Easter, nongovernmental organizations and churches, as well as health science students in various university and college campuses, raise funds to organize free medical care for hard-to-reach communities in Ghana. During this period, the volunteer workers offer free medical services to the community; people in these communities otherwise would have to pay huge sums of money to access these services at the hospital. As a way of sustaining peoples' access to healthcare when sick, some of these Christian groups also enroll people on the National Health Insurance Scheme. Aside from providing healthcare, the groups reach out to the community to evangelize and organize crusades for residents. Miracles do happen during some of these crusades.


This community health evangelism is helpful as community members identified as having diseases requiring specialist attention are referred to nearby hospitals for further management. Common conditions identified during such health evangelism include tumors, hypertension, diabetes, and infected wounds. These conditions otherwise may have been attributed by the people affected to the doing of an evil person or as punishment for sins. Data from these medical outreaches are reported to the local health directorate for appropriate intervention and give an idea about the health or disease profile of the people.