Soc Sci Med. 1992 Jun; 34(12): 1385-97.
Health-seeking behavior and the meaning of medications in Balochistan, Pakistan.
Department of Anthropology, University of Connecticut, Storrs 06268.
A wide variety of health care options--home-based, indigenous, and cosmopolitan--exists in northern Balochistan, Pakistan. This paper examines health-seeking behavior in the area of mother and child health for villagers in this pluralistic medical setting. The analysis of a specific series of illness episodes shows that the majority of cases obtain treatment from different medical systems for a single episode. Interest in medications takes precedence over practitioners, and the meaning the villagers attach to such substances is explored. Long-established patterns of behavior relating to indigenous medicine continue to occur when cosmopolitan medicine is utilized. Information presented here helps to explain problems in utilization of cosmopolitan pharmaceuticals and delineates areas for future health programme activity.