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Cultural practices must not affect development

BY: Daily Graphic
library photos
library photos

Culture as a way of life of a people is embedded in many beliefs and traditional practices that define and regulate the life of communities.

Indeed, the practices that are normally born out of the beliefs are aimed at making society orderly and life better.

Societies have built on these practices to advance their development.

In fact, evidence shows that societies that have relied on aspects of their culture such as language, architecture, social and governance institutions for their development have progressed relatively faster than those who copy development plans from other cultural backgrounds.

In effect, culture should rather help us develop faster and not make us stagger in our progress.

Societies have developed through their beliefs and practices from one level to another and Ghana is no different from others who have copied the right practices that have helped them refine their traditions.

A lot has been said of trokosi and female genital mutilation which are fortunately receiving attention from governments, non-governmental organisations and development partners.

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We understand the evolution of culture and so appreciate why the average man will want to ensure perpetuation of his cultural practices as handed down by his forebears without the slightest adulteration.

But this natural instinct to take hard-line positions on cultural beliefs has often brought about conflicts among blood relations. The sensitive nature of traditional beliefs and practices has thus led people to tread cautiously when beliefs and practices are mentioned.

But we must also know that society is dynamic and should be able to open itself to reforms to keep to the times.

In this modern era, for instance, people cannot come to terms with practices such as panyarring and other human sacrifices. But these were done with glee in years back.

The Daily Graphic, therefore, appeals to societies with such olden practices to reform them for the benefit of their communities.

On Page 3 of today’s edition, we published the story of a town in the North Tongu District in the Volta Region, Mafi-Dove, where for centuries pregnant women have been banned from giving birth in the community.

In addition, they had no access to health care and they had to travel long distances for that purpose because of a long-held traditional belief that children who are born on the land, even by mistake, will either die at birth or suffer some mysterious diseases.

The tradition is so entrenched that no health facility has ever been built in the town.

But, fortunately, with the cooperation of the district assembly, the chiefs and both the previous and current governments, a clinic has been put up in the community though on a different land not belonging to the town.

It is gratifying that the government in cooperation with the UNFPA has also stocked the clinic with tools and equipment to help pregnant women, particularly, get the necessary pre, peri and post-natal care to improve maternal care in the area.

As we commend the government of Ghana for putting up the clinic and equipping it, we also applaud the chiefs for their understanding that has seen the establishment of the facility.

We imagine how many pregnant women have developed complications over the years when there was no health facility, and ask that the provision of the facility should not end there.

The traditional leaders should be engaged to see the need to reform that practice for the benefit of the community.