Indigenous Ways of Explaining Health and Illness

ECU Author/Contributor (non-ECU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Morgan Davis (Creator)
East Carolina University (ECU )
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Abstract: The purpose of this qualitative descriptive study was to examine indigenous ways of explaining health and illness from the perspectives of Mayans in one rural village in Guatemala. A bilingual research team conducted interviews with 10 Maya adults (nine female and one male). Interviews were conducted in Spanish , audiotaped , and transcribed from Spanish to English. A native-speaker validated all interviews. Content analysis was used to identify commonalities and differences in explaining health and illness. Health was explained as eating healthy foods and drinking filtered water. All participants reported the use of herbs contributing to health and in treating illness. Herbs used were those grown on el monte/the mountain. Illness was explained by changes in behavior , such as sadness , lethargy , and a lack of appetite. Participants used the puesto de salud/health post and family members for advice on health and illness. Only one participant reported contact with a traditional healer for illness care. A Mayan explanation of health coincides with the Sustainable Development Goals (2017) of food security and access to safe drinking water. For many families living in Guatemala these basic necessities come only as a result of global partnerships. The puesto de salud is a valuable community resource that may benefit from global partnerships to build capacity and sustain resources.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2017
Maya, indigenous, health, illness, culture

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