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Health and Culture

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Willis describes the four factors of the sociological imagination as interrelated. Willis’ use of the historical factors enables me to connect how past historical influencing are effecting the present problems.

I would ague that traditional health practices has carved a strong niche within the provisions of health care. However, I can’t disagree that tradition medicines can be historically seen as the oldest form of health care. It makes me realise that it is, no wonder it has become such an embedded part of todays cultural tradition especially in the poorer countries. Willis also comments that cultural influences also effect the present. From what I understand traditional medicine is the knowledge and practice that is based on theories and belief that are implement throughout cultural history.

I would say understanding cultural factors and beliefs associated with traditional medicine practices is important this is because I believe it will give me good grounding on the belief systems that influence this type of healthcare. Structural factors is something that I would describe as distinguishing one society from another. However, I think this can not be confused with culture, language, or ethnicity, but rather the social structure of the society as a whole. Willis describes this very similar to my idea, in saying that it is how a social groups structure and shape their lives.

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My views in this, is that every ethnic culture has its own relationship to the environment, thus cultural values have become an integrated part of social structure. I know that from reflecting on my own life that medical knowledge has changed and developed over time and that theoretical knowledge of medicine, has taken over from the once experimental knowledge. However, I would ague that poorer countries structure are not westernised like my own and therefore traditional medicine practices can be the only way that some social groups can survive.

Willis also allows a critical factor approach thinking, that is based on what can be improved on the present circumstances. This critical approach thinking to traditional medicine helps me to understand a stance that prompts possible better social positioning. This factor allows me to have a more in-depth knowledge on the political struggles operating within health care and what can be done to improve it. 515words Step 3: Next, identify and cite one of the readings, articles or videos from the eModule and describe how it has helped you to gain a deeper understanding of this topic.

Remember to relate the information from this resource back to the factors from the sociological imagination template. (approx. 400 words; use two academic sources – one from your textbook + one from the eModule) Having discussed factors that define and ground traditional health practices in relation to the sociological imagination template, my attention will now turn to discuss two statements made in the third eModule that helps me gain a deeper understanding of this topic. Mcmurray (2007, p. 7) suggests, ealth and illness is socially constructed with the concept that health is a product of the individuals and their interaction with the environment. Mcmurray (2007, p. 310) again backs up this information and refers that health or illness are expressed and defined in different ways in different cultural groups based on the ways the particular group relates with the environment. When I first read this statement, it confirmed my ideologies in regards to the different societies and the influences that structure a cultures way of life.

My feeling towards this simply enforces the fact that people are very much a product of their own environment. In recognising that poorer societies are raised on the ideologies of history and cultural influences it is fair for me to agree with Mcmurray statement. When I relate poorer countries medical practices to my own life is can not be argued the perception would vary greatly. Being brought up in Australia surround by westernised practices, has made me very accustomed to the fact that medical advice is accessible anywhere.

This information has not only become part of normal social structure but is constantly changing as medicine advances. Critical factors always allow for westinised medicine to improve on what it is currently. For me to compare Australian medical practices to a poor countries, it would be obvious that medical information would be a lot different due to the resources available. Mcmurray statement has given me a more in-depth insight into how cultural groups view illness and the practices in place, based on the long generational history.

However, it is now becoming apparent to me, that for many of these third world countries, historical practices can sometimes be the only information that people are receiving in regards to healthcare. I can now see that health is indeed very different in cultural group, as they perceive illness differently due to their surrounding environment. Third world countries really only have cultural traditions to base there medical practices on. Not only this but Mcmurray also mentioned that the environment around them is the only source of availability.

It makes me question the prevelegeses that I have coming from a structural westernised society. In Australia social structure allows people to have healthcare access but I have never thought past this, that the society structures in poor countries don't have those same privileges. It seems traditional medical practices is the base to the health care system in a lot of the third world countries. I ask myself, is this issue due to poorer country letting health structures and standards slip or is it an easier approach put in place by third world countries to help manage health care because of economical poverty. 15words Step 4: Now, building upon your understanding from sources you identified in the previous steps, answer the original question you identified in Step 1, using at least four academic sources (e. g. journal articles, research reports) to support your answer. Locate these academic sources through your own information search. (600 words; use at least 4 new academic/literature sources. Only one website permitted. ) With the information that I have gathered, I will revert back to the original question of whether the World Health Organisation should encourage tradition health practices in the poorer countries.

I was very unaware that the World Health Organisation has had much debate into the protection of tradition health care practices in developing countries (Wilhelm, 2008). From the research that I have gathered, Tanaka, Kendal and Laland, (2009) comment’s that over 60-80% of the population that use traditional medicine are predominately from developing countries. What I have learnt is that this research indicates that this form of practice has become an accepted form of healthcare. However, when I reflect this back to Australia, in no way is tradition medicine what I would consider first choice in health care.

From what I have always experienced, westernised medicine has always been the primary health care choice in my household. I would relate this directly back to my family background, as we have always relied on convenient and up-to date health care knowledge. However, I had limited knowledge that traditional medicine had also become part of Australian practice. This lack of knowledge was confirmed by Tanaka et al, that indeed tradition health care has gained immense popularity and acceptance.

This new found information has now become more relatable to that of a third world countries. It makes me question, if westernised countries are implicating these practices, then where are third world countries going wrong? In contrast to tradition health practice's also becoming part of Australia health care, my research has shown that The World Health Organisation have launched a huge global outcry to encourage an increase awareness into the safety, quality, efficacy of traditional practices.

From what I understand of traditional health practices is that it has always been under scrutiny in it questionability of effectiveness. Pera and Tonder, (2005) confirms this and argues that many modern practitioners disagree with this form of health care as ‘traditional healers’ have not got the knowledge base or skill to be-able to give out an accurate diagnosis in medicine. Although I do agree with this statement, I believe WHO needs to continue to support and encourage tradition healers as third world countries haven't got western medicine and medical knowledge is unattainable.

Although cultural and historical factors my account for why communities of third world countries use tradition health practices, I found it also important to remember that social structures such as economic’s and political forces are also involved. As previously mentioned, Australian have access to health resources, with everyone entitled to medical care. On the other hand it has become apparent to me that this is no the case for poorer economical countries, that don't have the resources to support such a system.

I now realise that it is no wonder that countries in this predicament have no choice but to rely on basic health care. From this I have learnt how important it is that WHO supports this practice, to still ensure people have access to some kind of health care. However,by encouraging this practice, I believe it is also essential that education and awareness is created within this practice. This comes under critical factors in the sociological template that gives the ability to suggest improvements to the current system.

I agree with the idea’s of Bodeker et al (2005) in that urgent attention need to be given to educate traditional practioniers on information and use of medical substances. Bodeker et al also explains the need to sensitise the public so they are aware of the availability and benefits of tradition health therapies. I think it will make a vast difference by The World Health Organisation promoting tradition healthcare, especially if it can incorporate the factors outline in what I thought was a critical factor. Step 5:

Finally, choose one of the Graduate Attributes (at the front of the Unit Outline) that is most relevant to this assessment and how answering this eModule question has helped you to develop this Graduate Attribute I feel answering whether traditional medicine practice should be encourage, has helped me develop a good understanding of a particular Graduate attribute of this unit. This graduate attribute was all about demonstrating respect for each individual and human diversity; however, i feel that answering the original question I have had to develop this skill.

I argue this because from the very beginning of becoming a student nurse it was always crucial that we understood and implemented dignity for transcultural care. With this particular topic being covered by the sociological template, cultural factors were covered. It became apparent to me what a large influence culture had on traditional health practices. By learning and applying culturally competent care I have now learnt the importances of human dignity and how to implement this nursing intervention to incorporate many values and cultural beliefs.

I think this skill of recognising respect for human diversity is essential as all cultures want their values and beliefs upheld and respected. I see learning and applying the sociological imagination is so important to get a grasp into all element of the use of traditional medicine. (100 words; no literature required).


  1. Bodeker, G. , Ong, C. K. , Grundy, C. , Burford, G. , & Shein, K. (2005).
  2. orld health organization global atlas of traditional, complementary and alternative medicine. (Vol. 1, p. 31).
  3. World Health Organization. Pera, S. A. & Tonder, S. (2005). Ethics in health care. (2 ed. , pp. 195-196).
  4. Landsowne: Juta & Co. Tanaka, M. , Kendal, J. , & Laland, K. (2009).
  5. From traditional medicine to witchcraft: why medical treatments are not always efficacious. Journal Article; Research Support, 4(4), 5192. doi: 10. 1371/journal. pone. 0005192 Tjale, A. , & De Villiers, L. (2004).
  6. Cultural issues in health and health care: A resourcebook for southern africa . (p. 23). Landsowne: Juta & Co. Wilhelm, K. (2008).
  7. Encyclopedia of public health . (2 ed. , Vol. 2, pp. 611-613). New York: Springer

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