Community Health

I chose to discuss community health because  it is such an important topic anthropologically and because community health is something I hope to be apart of in the future. Something unique about community health is that each community has its own specific culture. It is extremely important to understand the area you are working in so you are able to give them the best care and fully understand what it is causing the distress or illness in the community. I hope to some day be apart of a community health team to be able to help communities positively and effectively. An important reason to take the anthropological view point is because there are certain disorders that differ by culture. For instance, in the beginning of the class we watched a video talking about the different diseases that have taken place in different areas of the world. In week two lecture one we were given a scenario about a community living by a river in North Africa where people had been urinating into the water causing snails to produce a parasite that harms humans. This parasite can cause bleeding, and severe organ diseases. This diseases shows as blood in the urine. In other areas of the world blood in the urine would not mean this same disorder, instead it could be seen as a urinary tract infection. Depending on what community you are treating makes a difference to how the issue is diagnosed and treated. This is why the anthropological perspective is so important in community health. It is important to know and understand a community before coming into help them. Some religions do not believe in giving blood or receiving blood. This would be something to take note of as an anthropologist so that a doctor would not offend a patient or community but instead understand their culture.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Naomi Fleischmann says:

    I believe that you hit the nail on the head with this evaluation of how an anthropologist can help a doctor to take a community’s practices into consideration when giving a diagnosis. It is completely true that in America if a doctor were to see blood in urine, he would probably go straight to a urinary tract infection, but in Africa there are more likely possibilities than that. The only thing I would add to this evaluation is how an anthropologist can help the people of the community as well as their doctors. An anthropologist should not only help a doctor to understand a community, but he should also be able to explain to the community how to avoid their typical health issues. Obviously, this must be done in a way that would not insult the natives of the community, but at the same time it must be done in an effective manner. As an example one can take a look at the parasite in the water problem. Now a doctor can continue to treat every person in the community for the same parasite problem, or someone with an understanding of the community’s culture (an anthropologist) could approach the people within the community and explain to them that the water they are bathing/playing in is what is making them sick, and the water must be avoided at all costs. By approaching the community first and not the doctors, one would be cutting the problem off at the pass.

  2. Cherie Griffey says:

    I find your post interesting and I completely agree with it! Community health is a very important topic anthropologically. I like how you acknowledge the fact that each community has a culture of its own and I feel as if that is the key point here! Certain problems could only be happening in that specific community and in order to help the community out you must understand it. The example that you used about North Africa and how they had an issue with parasites in the river that is harmful to humans. Looking at the situation from an anthropologist viewpoint it is a community issue because the only way you can become affected is if you enter this body of water. If you become affected with the parasite you will have blood in your urine and it can cause organ diseases. Anthropology is important because if you are all the way in the United States and you never came in contact with this body of water and yet you are experiencing blood in your urine you cannot be diagnosed with the same thing. Anthropologist also comes into play when it comes to treating the disease because in this example it is based on your community.

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