Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT)


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Anne M. Haskins


Health Services for Persons with Disabilities -- Ghana; Occupational Therapy -- education; Occupational Therapy -- methods; Rehabilitation -- methods


In the developing country of Ghana, West Africa, there is a population of over 1 million individuals with disabilities (Timney, 2007). Ninety-five percent of these people have no rehabilitation service access (Timney, 2007). Due to the presence of social, political, and economic factors including negative societal stigma towards people with disabilities, political corruption and poverty, Ghana's population is vulnerable for occupational deprivation. Occupational deprivation places this population at risk for preventing engagement in or forceful discontinuation of meaningful daily occupations such as farming, education, and employment opportunities (Whiteford, 2000; Yeoman, 1998).

The U.S. has helped offer some assistance to Ghana, focusing mainly on emergencies, such as prevention of infectious diseases (Timney, 2007). This assistance has neglected to include those who are disabled. Although rehabilitation faculty from other countries have visited Ghana to provide intermittent assistance, the immense rehabilitation needs of Ghana would be best met by the retention of rehabilitation personnel within the country. In response to this need, the School of Allied Health Sciences at the University of Ghana was established in 2012; however, the program lacks permanent occupational therapy faculty to teach incoming students (Crouch, 2001). In 2013, there were only two qualified occupational therapists reported in the country (Beguin, 2013). Ghana's developing occupational therapy program could be initially sustained with external assistance to develop educational coursework to train occupational therapists that will be retained in Ghana (Crouch, 2001; Timney, 2007). Therefore, the purpose of this project was to create an education resource to provide to the University of Ghana to further the development and sustainment of the occupational therapy program.

A comprehensive literature review was conducted on topics related to occupational engagement, people with disabilities, and the development of an occupational therapy education program in Ghana, Africa. Research was done on the culture of this country, prevalent disabilities, adult learning style, the healthcare system, and steps that have already been taken in Ghana, Africa to develop rehabilitation services for individuals with disabilities. In addition, data was obtained from a series of needs assessments to provide a personal perspective for content of the product and targeted audience. Lastly, a personal communication interview was conducted with qualified individuals who had first-hand experience with this culture and occupational therapy to gain insight into their professional opinion of foreseen needs to address. The Person- Environment-Occupation Model has guided the data gathering process and development of the product. This information has supported the need for implementation of occupational therapy educational materials to further progress this country's developing occupational therapy rehabilitation program and meet the unique needs of this population.

An educational resource was developed to provide the foundational materials needed for occupational therapy students to learn about the role of this profession as well as the basic assessment and intervention strategies that meet Ghana's population needs. This resource contains foundational skills that teachers and students will use to prepare occupational therapy students for meeting the unmet needs of people living with disabilities in Ghana. It is anticipated that this foundational occupational therapy educational resource will enable this profession to become better known and understood, in addition to aiding in the development of a sustainable, established, and permanent occupational therapy program in Ghana.