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Bioethics is gradually becoming an important part of the drive to increase quality healthcare delivery in sub-Saharan African countries. Yet many healthcare service-users in Africa are familiar with incidences of questionable health policies and poor healthcare delivery, leading to severe consequences for patients. We argue that the overarching rights-based ethical administrative framework recently employed by healthcare authorities contributes to the poor uptake and enforcement of current normative tools. Taking Ghana as a case study, we focus on the cultural ethical context and we tease out the concepts of the good and the ethical among the Akan and Bulsa ethnic groups. We point out three tenets towards building a normative framework that can resonate with service-users and practitioners: ontological communitarianism; empathic humanism; and virtuous character. Finally, we indicate how these core tenets can be dovetailed into building an effective normative framework and into the training of healthcare providers.

Original publication




Journal article


Dev World Bioeth

Publication Date



Africa, Ghana, Indigenous Frameworks, bioethics, clinical, health care