Euthanasia in Ghana Today

James Yamekeh Ackah, Benjamin Spears Ngmekpele Cheabu


Euthanasia is a least explored concept in Ghana. This study sought responses from 1028 respondents in Sunyani. Principal to questions posed was the right to die, circumstances that may necessitate aiding or allowing one to ask his or her life to be taken, legalization of euthanasia and the relationship that may exist between respondent demographic characteristics and their responses. The levels of agreements and disagreements in favor of the defense of life irrespective of the circumstance stood in stark contrast to what is recorded in other countries. 83.7 percent of respondents disagreed on the inducement of death for merciful reason which is also reflected in respondents’ belief that under any circumstance the physician should try to protect the life of the patient. On the right to die, 78 percent of the respondents reported a disagreement to the proposition of one having the right to choose to die. Consequently 70.2 percent of the respondents disagreed that there should be legal avenues by which an individual could pre-authorize in the case of an intolerable disease. Of statistical significance (p< 0.5) were  respondent’s gender and inducing death for merciful reasons; highest educational attainment and support to legalize euthanasia; ethnic background and the right to choose to die; ethnic background and inducing death for merciful reasons; age of respondent and right to choose to die; and one’s religious affiliation and inducing death for merciful reasons. These correlations provide some similarities to studies in Europe especially with regard to gender, educational level, age and religious affiliation.

Keywords: Euthanasia, death, dying, Ghana, religion

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