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October 2022

Soc Sci Med. 1983 ; 17(17): 1271-80.

The survival of traditional medicine in a Peruvian barriada.

Davidson J.

Current trends in population dynamics reflect increasing movement from rural to urban environments. As a result the provision of health care for migrants has become a national priority in many countries 'in development'. Information describing the extent to which traditional medical beliefs and practices persist is crucial to the formation of systems of health care for migrant communities. This paper describes the dynamics of medical conservatism. Data analysis obtained from a comparative study of 52 Peruvian women living in a rural highland province and 50 Peruvian women from a migrant squatter settlement, a barriada, indicates that length of exposure to an urban environment is less of a determinant in medical conservatism than age of enculturation. Positive and negative implications of medical conservatism for the delivery of health services are discussed. Recommendations are suggested for greater emphasis on the coordination of programs of health care with community education.


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