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Human health as a concept established in culture Essay

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Culture may be considered as an array of notions, behavior, and customs that a group of people shares within a given community. These notions are the ones that give identity to each member of a given community. Culture encompasses a number of subsets one of which is a group’s religious and spiritual beliefs, as it is in Haiti. Culture exists in two categories at both extreme trimmings of a continuum. Culture may be considered individualistic or collectivistic. Global cultures reside somewhere in between.

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In addition. Within a given culture, there are a number of variations. Being familiar with both forms of culture assists medical practitioners to understand where a given segment of a population lies within a given cultural band such that patient care is able to be personalized. Individualistic or collectivistic forms of culture create multiple views relating to the concept of healthcare (Collin, 2004). In this regard, therefore, it can be argued that human health is itself a concept entrenched in the culture. This is true primarily due to the fact that culture I responsible for framing and shaping our perception of our world together with our experiences. Therefore, health practitioners are able to develop a positive interaction with their patients leading to better health care once they grasp the distinction that exists in each of their patient’s cultural values, practices, and beliefs separate from their own.

Literature Review

Select global cultures and influence in healthcare practice

Haitians are inherently spiritual people who believe in the power of healing. They have a strong belief in the concept of miracles channeled through a number of media such as dreams, traditional and scientific medicine. Health is thought of as being an individual’s responsibility and self-treating is considered one of the many ways of ensuring good health. Haitians resort to home-based remedies prior to any form of hospital treatment. Home-based treatment may include the use of herbs, massages or non-prescription medicine. They reach out to doctors and hospitals once it is clear that an illness requires advanced care. It is recommended that clinicians inquire as to which home based remedies a patient has indulged in prior to offering any form of treatment. It is common to find Haitians taking prescribed and herbal medication at the same time. Haitian culture ascribes to use of nebulous terms. It is common to find patients describing the nature of an illness rather than its associated symptoms. In essence, a visit to the hospital is mainly confirmatory of an individual’s self-diagnosis (Nicolas and DeSilva, 2006).

In most cases, patients assess individual symptoms and then institute diagnosis bases on the experience of another patient who has contracted the same illness previously. It is common to find Haitians making use of biomedical jargons inappropriately. The extent to which Haitians comply with a given treatment is dependent on their view of an illness’ severity. In essence, some diseases are considered serious such as diabetes and cancer. Others are only considered serious because someone else succumbed to them. Once a doctor expresses an illness’ severity, then can they comply with the course of treatment.

Pregnancy, not being an illness, Haitians do not indulge in any form of prenatal care as it is not considered to be of any importance. In addition, birth control is considered undesirable as children are considered a blessing. Haitian culture does not recognize a man’s contribution towards issues of birth control, men do not ascribe to protection during intercourse as it is considered a killer of pleasure (Norris, 2005). Discussions about issues of sexually transmitted diseases are frowned upon. Haiti is one of the countries in the world fraught with some of the worst indicators of health. For this country to overcome such challenges and improve the health of its people, the government needs to address some of the common health challenges currently facing its people. Some of its international partners such as the U.S, and those from the private sector have made efforts to help this country to improve the people’s access to health services. Although there are a lot of challenges to contend with, the Haitian government has made efforts, there have been significant positive efforts to encourage family planning and childhood malnutrition (Pierre, 2012). The number of births per person has gone down considerably as a result of a change in culture from the refusal to embrace contraceptives to an increase used of up to 31 percent.

Problem statement

Health care is one of the most sensitive areas due to its close relation to global cultures. Examining the interaction of culture and health care helps build cultural competencies appropriate during healthcare service provision by medical practitioners. In this respect, it is essential to examine select global cultures and how they influence healthcare provision. Most communities experience immense challenges in terms of access to healthcare. In most cases, such challenges are related to a communities religious and spiritual beliefs.  Therefore, it is important to evaluate how such religious beliefs affects healthcare provision in a multifaceted community based on moral and ethical reasoning, such as in Haiti.

Challenges in healthcare access for Haitian cultures

Haitians do not ascribe to scientific medicine which involves hospitals, medication and illness diagnosis. They believe in Vodou as a healthcare system. This form of treatment goes over and beyond dimensions of caregiving that is found in most other religions. This form of healthcare is common as practiced in Haiti’s countryside and is based on ontology. However, Haitian possess a stoical approach to disease and illness which is inherently seen in one of their common adages, God is good. Their belief is based on the fact that whatever happens to an individual is God’s doing. They view illness as a form of punishment or battering of bodies that possess natural etiologies (Pierre, 2012). Access to proper treatment and medication is considered pointless since illness is commonly short-lived. One of the most common explanations for the sickness experienced by Haitians is that it is caused by their interaction with the environmental aspects such as cold, food, gas and heat. The existence of supernatural sicknesses is attributed to the wrath of spirits. The cure for such illnesses is based on advice offered to Voodoo ecclesiastics by spirits and as such they must wait upon the spirits for enlightening. Such voodoo practices limit the need to access health care by Haitians (Vonarx, 2011).

Challenges associated with diversity in healthcare

Haitians in other countries, such as in the United States, encounter linguistic, economic and cultural issues that make integration within such communities difficult which affects their access to health services and their utilization. During demographic, Haitians in America are considered African American. This enables them to hide their cultural, environmental and behavioral diversity amongst other such immigrants. This includes health beliefs, diet, migration experiences, language, and education. Most of the Haitians in America, for instance, do not go for annual checks up. Those who are about 18 years of age may have had a checkup once while those who spoke poor English were not likely to visit a doctor for medical check or treatment (Vonarx, 2011).

Barriers to healthcare access and quality care

Haitians face a number of issues that limit their ability to access healthcare services, particularly those who reside in countries other than their own, such as those in the U.S. One of such issues is a language barrier. Haitians speak French as their national language, although Creole is technically Haiti’s key undocumented language. Creole is commonly spoken around homes and in daily communication needs. This is the language used by those who do not have an education. Those who move to the U.S encounter a lot of language barrier. Those who are unfamiliar with terms used in the medical field encounter much more difficulty (Saint-Jean & Crandall, 2005). Practitioner-patient difficulties base on beliefs has posted a lot of challenges for Haitians in America seeking healthcare services. A majority of Haitians visit doctors with the expectation that they are knowledgeable on matters of healthcare. Those health practitioners who ask a wealth of questions are thought of as having insufficient knowledge. There is immense lack of adherence to regimes during treatment as a result of Haitians’ perceived lack of urgency in relation to individual health. Families of Haitian descent are commonly matrifocal. Mothers are the ones who make important decisions in which case they have an influence on compliance. Haitians who are culturally entrenched tend to show hesitancy towards discussions involving sexual health (Mccaffrey, 2008). They believe that illnesses are a consequence of a lack of balance in nature. They, therefore, ascribe to use of homemade remedies such as oils and herbal tea which form the initial step of treatment for a majority of illnesses.

Legal, ethical and moral reasoning in decisions related to improving healthcare safety

Currently, Haiti’s immunization levels of DPT3 is estimated at about 53 percent. This is an indication of this country’s need for improvement as was seen during humanitarian efforts after Haiti’s earthquake. A number of publications have highlighted cases of amputation in Haiti, although none of these have documented such cases in the context of Haiti’s culture. Amputees in Haiti have survival chance socially. However, this new found disability becomes a threat in terms of morbidity together with the need to survive within the streets. Such patients face an increased risk of malnourishment, infection, and maltreatment. In addition, such patients will encounter discrimination within Haiti’s resource strained healthcare system. They further face immense difficulty in terms of getting employment. Medical practitioners encounter dilemmas in which they are forced to decide between performing an amputation and saving a life in which case the patient’s prospects of living a normal life are diminished. In this case, amputations provide short-lived solutions which are coupled with long-term negative effects (Saint-Jean & Crandall, 2005).

Evidence-based practice into the care of the client, the community, and the healthcare environment

Evidence-based practices demand an approach that is works based on clinical as well as organizational decision-making. This involves strategies during practice based on three key sources of evidence-based practice. This includes research results, knowledge of clinical practices as well as values that patients hold dear. The main goal of this kind of practice in healthcare is to employ healthcare intervention in the process of improving healthcare access to those who seek medical attention. This will develop healthcare results for patients. Currently, few studies have been done with the aim of testing cultural congruence in terms of health interventions.
Cultural competency in the care of the client, community, aging and vulnerable populations

Multicultural practices in the area of human health encompass knowledge in the area of cultural diversity and worldwide views coupled with self-awareness of one’s own culture. This includes a health practitioner’s views relating to differences in culture. Multicultural assessment starts with an evaluation of cultural foci, psychological and physical as grounds on which to provide healthcare services. The cultural aspect of an assessment involves examination of ethical, socio-cultural and political elements uniquely embedded within a healthcare continuum of Haitians. One of the important aspects of assessment is communication skills in a multicultural environment.  This is made use of in order to enhance understanding during a health-illness meeting between a health provider and a patient (Saint-Jean & Crandall, 2005).

Competence in health provision involving cross-cultural interaction requires the constant interest in enhancing cultural communication. Although health providers may acquire competence in relation to a number of different cultures, competency may not be wholesome. Even then, health providers are likely to acquire competency under a complex blend of knowledge of culture, attitudes, and skills. How well health practitioners become well versed in a number of different cultures depends on their knowledge of different cultures and their ability to implement care that is culturally congruent. However, a comprehensive body of research investigated cultural differences in terms of health care beliefs, values as well as practices which are meant to give guidance to health practitioners while they provide services that show congruence.  Significantly more studies need to be done in order to lower the amount of disparity in terms of healthcare provision.

The cultural approaches used currently in Haiti are evocative and experimental. However, they have continued to provide grounds on which to conduct studies meant to increase health access to patients. There is an increasing sense of urgency to work out which intercessions will provide the required level of awareness of health beliefs and values. This also includes social and political aspects that have an influence on healthcare. The effect of political strife as well as globalization has led to a mass movement of Haitians to areas where health practitioners do not understand Haitians’ methods of preserving their health or treating illnesses. In this regard, research has the capacity to provide health practitioners with intervention methods that will work in a culturally assorted environment.

Safety, quality, and outcomes in healthcare

Deficiencies in terms of quality of health services provided in Haiti is an indication of failure in terms of practitioners compassion and insufficiencies of resources. This results in insufficient knowledge, poor application of technology. It is possible that healthcare systems in Haiti did not work towards aligning health providers incentives to local health practices (Bridges et al., 2011). However, quality of healthcare is the overarching canopy under which patient health and safety reside. Patient safety cannot be separated from the process of delivering health services. Safety practices are those that are meant to minimize the level of risk that patients are exposed to during diagnosis or any other condition. A number of safety approaches have been considered, such as the use of bar codes, simulators, and digital order entry, as some of the methods that are will help prevent errors in healthcare provision.

Integration of interprofessional practice models in healthcare

Interprofessional education models speak to an instructive system, a group based ordeal, and an interprofessional-recreation experience. The instructional system underlines interprofessional group building abilities, information about callings, patient-focused consideration, administration taking in, the effect of society on human services conveyance and an interprofessional clinical segment. The group based experience exhibits how interprofessional coordinated efforts give administration to patients and how the earth and accessibility of assets affect one’s wellbeing status. The interprofessional-reenactment experience depicts clinical group abilities preparing in both developmental and summative reproductions used to create aptitudes in correspondence and authority (Bridges et al., 2011). One regular topic prompting a fruitful affair among these three interprofessional models included assisting understudies with understanding their own particular expert personality while picking up a comprehension of other proficient parts of the social insurance group. Duty from divisions and schools, different logbook understandings, curricular mapping, coach, and workforce preparing, a feeling of the group, sufficient physical space, innovation, and group connections were all distinguished as basic assets for a fruitful project. Synopsis proposals for best practices incorporated the requirement for authoritative backing, interprofessional automatic base, submitted personnel, and the acknowledgment of understudy cooperation as key segments to accomplishment for anybody building up an IPE focused system (Bridges et al., 2011).

Improvement of the quality of healthcare of vulnerable populations

The setting and circumstances of every case will fluctuate, and significant adaptability is required while assessing well-being and searching for markers of disregard or manhandle. Evaluations may include extended time and require a few visits from diverse experts (Mitchell, 2008). Security data is essential and may originate from an assortment of sources, including medical records, family doctors, relatives, companions, home consideration staff, neighbors, landowners, and police. Vulnerable grown-ups are frequently not approaching or dependable witnesses. They may need knowledge and deny help (Culo, 2015).

Thorough geriatric evaluation ought to incorporate a customer meeting, physical examination, and audit of medicinal history and pharmaceutical utilization. Lab and radiographic studies may be clinically shown. Fundamental psychological testing and screening for the psychiatric issue are recommended. It is essential to investigate potential budgetary, physical, passionate, and sexual misuse (Hughes, 2008).

Care of the client, community, aging and vulnerable populations

Enhancing the nature of human services and decreasing incongruities are basic issues for wellbeing change – the basic to catch and saddle our extensive quality in this field is more grounded than at any other time. The mission of the Center for Health Care Quality is to propel examination and grant that advanced proof based consideration, with elevated regard for the needs of the underserved in Haiti (Somnath, 2008). Through cautious study, we recognize the best approaches to enhance nature of consideration at the authoritative and group levels. GCHQ’s endeavors likewise fixate on watchful quality estimation and the interpretation of proof into practice. CHCQ would work in health facility settings all through Haiti to interpret demonstrated, proof-based systems into practice. The collection of learning that is produced will bolster change over the continuum of consideration and will advise policymakers at the group, territorial, state and national levels (Board, 2012).



Collin M. (2004). Cultural and Clinical Care for Haitians. Indian health services.


Nicolas, G and DeSilva, M.(2006). Haitian Culture. Encyclopedia of Health Care Management.

Norris, A. (2005). Mechanics of Conducting Culturally Relevant HIV Prevention Research with Haitian American Adolescents: Lessons Learned, Journal of Multicultural Nursing and Health, 11-11. https://www.bc.edu/content/dam/files/centers/boisi/pdf/s091/Mechanics_of_Conducting_Culturally_Relevant_HIV_Prevention_R.pdf

Pierre, F. (2012). Health status of Haitian Americans. 3-3.


Saint-Jean, G., & Crandall, L. (2005). Utilization of Preventive Care by Haitian Immigrants in Miami, Florida. Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health J Immigrant Health, 7(4), 283-292.

Mccaffrey, R. (2008). The Lived Experience of Haitian Older Adults’ Integration Into a Senior Center in Southeast Florida. Journal of Transcultural Nursing, 33-39.

Vonarx, N. (January 01, 2011). Haitian Vodou as a health care system: between magic, religion, and medicine. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, 17, 5.)

Culo, S. (2015). Risk assessment and intervention for vulnerable older adults | BC Medical Journal. Bcmj.org. Retrieved 3 November 2015, from http://www.bcmj.org/articles/risk-assessment-and-intervention-vulnerable-older-adults

Bridges, D., Davidson, R., Soule Odegard, P., Maki, I., & Tomkowiak, J. (2011). Interprofessional collaboration: three best practice models of interprofessional education. Medical Education Online, 16(0). http://dx.doi.org/10.3402/meo.v16i0.6035

Board, I. (2012). Transition to Community Care: Models and Opportunities. National Academies Press (US). Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK98460/

Hughes, R. (2008). Tools and Strategies for Quality Improvement and Patient Safety. Agency For Healthcare Research And Quality (US). Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK2682/

Mitchell, P. (2008). Defining Patient Safety and Quality Care. Agency For Healthcare Research And Quality (US). Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK2681/


Somnath Saha, L. (2008). Patient Centeredness, Cultural Competence, and Healthcare Quality. Journal Of The National Medical Association, 100(11), 1275. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2824588/

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