April 05, 2011
University Of Houston
Cultures view health and disease in different ways. Based on the individual’s culture and the healthcare available to them determines how individuals treat an illness which varies greatly. From the harmony approach the Asian culture view health as balanced energy, The Chinese belief is that yin and yang brings balance to the body’s harmony that defines all living things. “Their belief in Chi that it leads the Asian culture to resist surgery and immunization, afraid it will interfere with their life energy and the rhythms which defines their health and wellbeing” (Uba, 1992). In addition they also believe that when yin and yang is absence illness and possibly death may take place. The Middle Eastern nation’s religion plays a major part concerning their culture viewpoint concerning health and disease as well. For example, Saudi Arabia has some of the best known facilities of healthcare providing all citizens with access to adequate healthcare services. But there is a cultural and religious stigma set upon individuals who are cared for in these healthcare facilities (Abu-Nasr, 2007). Some religions view illness as a form of punishment by God placed upon those who are not in agreement with God. Those who are healthy are considered to be in agreement with God and are naturally healthy and pure. A large factor affecting the healthcare in Middle Eastern nations is the cultural view on Muslim women being treated by male healthcare providers (Klein, 2008). These views stop women from getting the necessary treatment from healthcare providers even if the doctor is female with male employees. There have been reports of females being pulled away from mammogram machines by their husbands because they healthcare provider is a male (Abu-Nasr, 2007). Male healthcare providers are risking their lives to aid female patients while other male healthcare providers have been murdered for doing so (Klein, 2008).
The Asian culture belief system is that when illness and disease is present the body is imbalanced and out of harmony with life energy whereas the Middle Eastern Muslims, along with many other cultures view illness and disease as a form of punishment or justice (Salisbury & Byrd, 2006). The belief that individuals who become ill are in some way disobeying God is a factor which makes ill people be looked down upon. Not only is the individual affected by this belief but the family is as well. Ill individuals bring shame and embarrassment to the family (Abu-Nasr, 2006). Women may not be married if their mothers have breast cancer and ill family members may be rejected by the family, tortured, or killed because of the assumption that an act against God has been committed (Klein, 2007).
Individuals may fear shaming their families, being disliked, or being tortured due to their illness (Klein, 2007). So even though these Middle Eastern nations provide even the poorest of citizens with free access to healthcare, they still choose not to seek treatment till the problem is long overdue and treatment may no longer be an option. In the Middle Eastern nations of United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia many women have developed breast cancer yet few are receiving treatment for early detection. Breast cancer is the leading cause of death in this area and over 70% of the women are not seeking treatment for cancer till it is too late (Abu-Nasr, 206). These views that individuals learn towards healthcare follow them even when they migrate to areas of the world such as the United States where these views are not associated with healthcare (Salisbury & Byrd, 2006). The migration of these cultural health beliefs leads the general population who is not knowledgeable on these views to perceive the individual as