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November 2022

Ann Trop Paediatr. 1993 ; 13(3): 227-32.

Traditional practices and other socio-cultural factors affecting the health of children in Saudi Arabia.

Abdullah MA.

Department of Paediatrics, Security Forces Hospital, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

The medical services in Saudi Arabia have improved tremendously over the last two decades, and health centres are easily accessible to more than 93% of the population. Nevertheless, folk medicine, including cautery, bone setting, manual tonsillectomy, uvulectomy, use of herbal medicines and use of harmful teething powders, in addition to religious healing, is widely practised. Reasons include influence of grandparents, religious beliefs and failure of modern medicine to find an answer to some chronic disorders. These problems, and measures to counteract them, are discussed. Attention is also drawn to some of the harmful 'imported' practices that are affecting the health of children, including smoking, children driving cars and problems resulting from dependence on housemaids to bring up children. Some nutritional beliefs and taboos are also mentioned.

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