Cultural Attitudes To Health Essay

1155 Words 5 Pages
Cultural attitudes to health
In this essay, I will critically analyse three different cultural attitudes towards health and their cultural approaches to prevent illnesses. I will be discussing African attitudes, Western attitudes and Asian/Pacific attitudes towards health. Culture can be an important factor to know about, to understand the patients needs and to treat them within their comfort zones. All cultures have different traditions and ways of treating someone regarding health issues or different beliefs on why an illness occurs. While some of them believe in herbs and homemade cures, others trust the authority figures, such as qualified doctors or nurses. Differences in cultures affect patients ability to cope and manage with the effects
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Spiritual health is seen equally important as physical well being. The whole community is involved when treating an illness, as they have an extended kinship bond with everyone. They also believe in healing. Healing knowledge is passed around through family members by telling stories, but knowledge about medicine and plants are often kept a secret and is only passed on to future practitioners. Only after failed attempts to cure the illness with home remedies, they will seek a physician or professional. Illnesses are associated with fate or even bad luck. Church plays a major role in african cultures and acts as a support system for many African men and women. According to a psychologist called Professor Samuel Danquah from the University of Ghana, both good and bad health can have an impact on an African on a spiritual level. Some psychologist in the West believe that spiritual and religious beliefs can help with certain illnesses. Danquah said that church works on certain patients, as they have so much faith in it and sometimes it is just a matter of your mind set, such as depression or any mental illnesses. But the stigma attached to mental illness makes it hard for African folks to see a psychologist or talk about it to someone, unless it is the church. So of course no belief can cure cancer or aids but their belief can make life more durable. Their belief and homemade remedies can work to a …show more content…
He is also seen as the decision maker and is considered in every idea or decision made. The extended family has major influence and everyone is seen as part of the close family membership. The honours of individuals is less important than the interests and honours of the whole family. In the Asian culture, elderly are well respected and no one questions their authority. Also, maintaining harmony among each other is one of the most important values, therefore conflicts and disagreements are often avoided. The recommendations of health care professionals is never questioned and once an agreed treatment starts, it is followed thoroughly. Homemade remedies are common and used to prevent any illness. As in Africa, there is a stigma attached to mental illnesses in the asian culture as well. There is a fear in the family of having a family member with a mental illness, as this would lead in damaging the family name and therefore result in not getting the daughters married. Even though there is medical availability, Asians tend to involve diviners and traditional healers as well. In India the use of priests who perform rituals is common. This can bring in some faith for believers and give them stability and hope to get better. This support system might also impact their well being as psychologist say that sometimes it is just a question of the mind on how ill we really are. The Asian

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