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Women, Religion, and Maternal Health Care in Ghana, 1945-2000

Johnson, Lauren BSN; Wall, Barbra Mann PhD, RN, FAAN

doi: 10.1097/FCH.0000000000000032
Original Articles

This article documents the historical factors that led to shifts in mission work toward a greater emphasis on community health for the poor and most vulnerable of society in sub-Saharan Africa after 1945. Using the example of the Medical Mission Sisters from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and their work in Ghana, we challenge the conventional narrative of medical missions as agents of imperialism. We assert that missions—particularly those run by Catholic sister physicians, nurses, and midwives—have changed over time and that those changes have been beneficial to the expansion of community health, particularly in the area of improvement of maternal care.

School of Nursing, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.

Correspondence: Lauren Johnson, BSN, School of Nursing, University of Pennsylvania, 418 Curie Blvd, Philadelphia, PA 19104 (

Funding for this research was provided by the University of Pennsylvania Urban Research Institute Award, the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing's F(our)ULD Undergraduate Research Award, and the University of Pennsylvania URF and Vagelos grants.

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

© 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins