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Anthropologists Understanding of Human Health - Essay Example

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Name Institution Course Instructor Date Anthropologists Understanding of Human Health Cultures across the world have different approaches that they direct to illnesses. The concern of medical anthologists is to understand the structures of communities and the response they gave to illnesses…
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Download file to see previous pages However, the concern of medical anthropologists is to understand how communities understood the concept of health. Medical anthropologists have explored various ways, which different cultures used to understand the concept of disease and health. First is ecological or epidemiological view. Its concern posits the interaction between natural environment and culture to create pattern of diseases and health (Parker and Harper, 2005:123). Second is the critical (applied) medical anthropology view that focuses on how politics and economics affected human health. Third is interpretive view, which concerns with how culture related some symbolic meaning to understand and describe a disease. Epidemiological Perspective Epidemiology concern is to understand how factors within human population would affect human health. The concern of epidemiologists is to investigate cultural factors that contributed to diseases. These cultural factors include eating habit, sexual activity, medical practices, work, social interaction and geographical location (Bhasin). The paradox of this anthropological approach is that it cannot be able to identify the causing factors of these illnesses. However, traditionalists advised their people on what practices were best suitable in relation to health or disease risk. Epidemiologists’ research across cultures indicated that illnesses differ (Sharma and Gautam, 2006:143). For instance, blood pressure research conducted across cultures has indicated that pressure differs. The outcome of the study suggests differences across cultures might be the likable cause. The assumption made through medical ecology is that universal approach is applicable in categorising diseases. Measuring of diseases can take geographical dimension, where changes in pattern of settlement could project the anticipated disease or health outcome. For instance, medical anthropologists believe that measuring and mapping of haemoglobin is possible in relation to a given geographical region (McElroy, 2002:9). The study of disease in such area would focus on human physiology in relation to the environment. For instance, a disease such as malaria occurs in a given geographical area. The understanding of this condition is very important when it comes to diagnosing of the disease. It is not surprising that the colonial masters that arrived in Africa faced the challenge of Malaria. Ethno medicine The focus of ethno medicine is to explore practices and health beliefs, social roles, and cultural values. The perspective originally focused on the primitive system of life in relation to folk medicine. Today ethno medicine means health maintenance in the society (Elmer, 2004:27). Understanding the concept of ethno medicine, the beliefs, values, and knowledge of specialists in various communities is important. Since ethno medicine encompasses a number of factors, it gives detailed information on how communities interpreted illnesses and the techniques applied in meeting the effects of the illnesses. Traditional healers in Indian culture practice the activities alongside biomedicine that a patient in India would seek (Williams, 2006:215). The role played by the specialists in the traditional times has not faded, as one would think. Some communities demonstrate inclination to traditional methods as much as they would seek biomedicine. Interpretive Perspective Cultures a cross the globe associate different meaning to issues that ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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