The Role Of Medical Anthropology Essay

982 words - 4 pages

This paper seeks to show the inter-relationship of bio- medical professionals such as doctors and nurses in comparison with medical anthropologists and try to show their relevancy in the healthcare system and their collaboration in inter-professionalism. Medical anthropology is an advancing sub-discipline of anthropology. Medical anthropology is intended to provide a framework, which should enable students to identify and analyze social, cultural, behavioural and environmental factors in relation to health and disease/illness in any given society. Medical anthropologists are not medics or professional doctors but they are usually found within the health care system since they provide an insightful role of involving cultural aspects in diagnosis and treatment of diseases in the healthcare system. This is a perfect and unique example of inter-professionalism in the healthcare system.
In all human societies, beliefs and practises relating to illness are central features of cultural life. Although beliefs and practises strongly influence people’s health it is important to note that culture is not the only factor that influences health.
Clinically applied anthropologists are closely involved with healthcare and patient care as members of the healthcare system. They work with physicians, counsellors, lab technicians and many other paramedical personnel. They are solely involved with raising awareness to important cultural factors in health, some of them even practise medicine. This is multi-disciplinary inter-professionalism in itself.
The other medical anthropologists take a macro-approach and focus on political and economic equality which results to poverty and eventually has an effect on disease. An example of such an anthropologist was Paul Farmer.
Medical anthropologists have been involved in areas of primary healthcare, family planning, nutrition, immunization and prevention of HIV Aids and others. This paper seeks to show the relevance of anthropologists in the success of any healthcare system. It further outlines the necessity of medical anthropologists in any clinical setting.
In many scientific disciplines researches try to explain their objects by reducing them to become principles, however in anthropology ,the approach is to understand issues in their context meaning that practises ideas are looked at from a wider perspective.
Significance of Human Body to medical anthropologists.
We cannot talk about health, without focusing on the body because ill health presents suffering to the human body and the mind. To the medical anthropologists, the human body is more than just a physical organism; it is also a focus of a set of beliefs about its social and psychological significance about its inner structure referred to as anatomy and structures called physiology. These sets of cultural beliefs about the body are called body image and are culturally determined .Social status, gender or occupation is expressed through the body and its...

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