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An Ethnographical Analysis Of Haiti And Current Medical Practice

1413 words - 6 pages

Haitian culture offers a wide range of explanation for illness based upon the social, cultural and religious beliefs. The explanations are also dependent upon the locations and the class. They hold multiple views since they mainly rely on hybrid models which eventually lead them to consult for an illness from different persons.
Haitian culture has divided illness in various groups. They are: maladi Bondye (Natural disease as an act of God), maladi peyi (short-term illness), maladi moun fè mal (cast of magic spells stemmed from human greed), maladi lwa (disease of God) and maladi Satan (Sickness sent by Satan) (Sterlin, 2006).
Haitians often holds some unique views when it comes to health and sickness. The imbalance between hot and cold is considered as a natural ailment. They can arise from the condition of natural elements, such as, sun, rain, wind and dew. The emotional reaction to an environment of an individual is also considered another cause.
The treatments followed by Haitians should follow the opposite of imbalance in order to regain the normal state. Compress, baths, herbal teas are often used to restore ailing health.
Hot and cold foods, properties like heavy or light also point another factor among the local people. For instance, heavy food is normally preferred during daytime so as to gain maximum energy to sustain physical labor, while the light foods are taken in the evening (Nicolas, DeSilva, Grey, & Eastep, 2006)
So it is clear that chronic ailments are treated with home remedy. In cases of serious diseases like Tuberculosis and AIDS, they retort to the modern medical standards.
Mental health is often related to the supernatural forces. The problem in mental health that stems from various social causes like underachievement in exam etc. are all seen as a product of consequence from spell or curse given by others. The mental illness sometimes attribute to the unhappy spirit force and in this type of cases the people often tend to rely on the spiritual and religious strengths to deal with the problem (Desrosiers & St Fleurose, 2002).
Role of Modern Health Services
Most of the people of Haiti have no access to general healthcare services. The modern healthcare facilities are mainly located in the urban areas and they constitute 30%. In the rural sector, 70% of health care services are organized by nongovernmental organizations. There are even numbers of hospitals operated by private enterprise.
While most of the people in Haiti prefer biomedical services, they are unfortunate to access the said type of care primarily because of location, cost and distance.
The problems with psychiatry as defined in modern medical science is not taken as a priority for the Government. In fact, there is even no real planning for the service as the number of professionals is quite low in the country. Moreover, they are usually stationed in main cities like Port-au-Prince and a Haitian has to travel a long distance in order to consult with these...

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