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Health Beliefs of Haitians - Essay Example

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Summary
The Haitian people have some unique beliefs about healthcare. They believe there are natural illnesses which they work to prevent and supernatural illnesses which may be the result of a curse. They equate health with the ability to work and provide for their families and they do not see the physical signs of illness as important unless it interferes with their ability to work…
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Health Beliefs of Haitians
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Download file to see previous pages Always when a Haitian becomes ill, the first line of care is home herbal remedies. These are often utilized for the prevention and treatment of cold, fever, and stomach aches. Traditional treatments are passed on from generation to generation. It is difficult for them to accept Western approaches such as vaccination and cancer screening as they feel the treatment may make them ill and they have no prevention against it.
Haitians believe that pain affects the whole body system and because of that they are frequently not able to tell you where the pain comes from. They also may come to the physicians office and be very vague about what is wrong with them because they see everything as the same (Salisbury.edu), either natural or supernatural. All deformities are considered brought on by an evil spirit. Haitians who have a chronic illness are cared for by family and friends, they seldom go to a nursing home. If they get to return home they will pay the spirits back by having a Thanksgiving ritual. Haitians also believe that a wheelchair means they are very sick and they will misunderstand if it is offered. Haitians do not talk about organ donation, nor do they believe in organ transplant. Pre-natal care is not an illness so there are most likely no prenatal care visits and it may be very difficult.
Practitioners
Most of the lower class in Haiti believes in Voodoo and that comprises about 85% of the population. They do practice Christian beliefs at the same time. There, according to the Haitians is not only a visible world but a spiritual world. The spirits of the deceased make up both good and bad spirits. Usually when there is an illness the Haitian goes to see the Hougan who is able to be a conduit to the Loas and provide a cure. If the patient has visited the Hougan several times and is not better, they may be referred on to the physician (Miller, 2000). If a patient is in the hospital here in the United States, they may want to go back to Haiti to see a Hougan, especially is they are not getting better. Physicians within the community of practitioners to treat Haitians must do what they can to understand the cultural significance of many of these beliefs in order to get screening and preventive care done.
Chronicity and Psychiatry
The role of the supernatural is very much a part of Haitian society. They feel that chronic illness as well as psychiatric illness is caused by the supernatural. Depression, psychosis, inability to perform activities of daily living and academic underachievement may often be seen as a curse or a spell placed on them. They often feel that this happens because they did not work hard enough of did not do something they should have done (Astrid & Shiela, 2002) and didn't. They may feel they were lazy or that someone had a grudge and put a spell on them through an evil spirit. Patients who are chronically ill are usually cared for at home by family and friends: nursing homes are almost never used. It should be remembered also that offering a Haitian a wheelchair is the same as telling they are very ill and may not get better (Salisbury.edu)
In actuality, the Haitians deal with many chronic illnesses due ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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