Public Health in Colonial and Post-Colonial Ghana: Lesson-Drawing for The Twenty-First Century

  • Samuel Adu-Gyamfi (.)
  • Edward Brenya (.)
  • Peter Nana Egyir


Public health in twenty-first century Ghana is mired with several issues ranging from the inadequacy of public health facilities, improper settlement planning, insanitary conditions, and the inadequacy of laws and their implementation. This situation compared to the colonial era is a direct contradiction. Development in the pre-colonial era to the colonial era sought to make the prevention of diseases a priority in the colonial administration. This was begun with the establishment of the health branch in 1909 as a response to the bubonic plague that was fast spreading in the colony. From here public health policies and strategies were enacted to help the diseases prevention cause. Various public health boards, the medical research institute or the laboratory branch, the waste management department, the use of preventive medicine and maintenance of good settlement planning and sanitation were public health measures in the colonial era. This research seeks to analyse the public health system in the colonial era so as to draw basic lessons for twenty-first century Ghana. Archival data and other secondary sources are reviewed and analysed to help draw these lessons. Richard Rose’s lesson-drawing approach was used to draw the lessons.

Keywords: Public health, Ghana, Sanitation services

How to Cite:

Adu-Gyamfi, S., Brenya, E. & Nana Egyir, P., (2017) “Public Health in Colonial and Post-Colonial Ghana: Lesson-Drawing for The Twenty-First Century”, Studies in Arts and Humanities 3(1), 34-54. doi:

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Published on
29 May 2017
Peer Reviewed