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ROLE OF ANTHROPOLOGISTS IN HEALTH AND DEVELOPMENT [Abstract ID: 1207-10]
Health problems and practices of any community are influenced by the interplay of complex social, economic and political factors (Sahu, 1986). Health and disease are the measures of the effectiveness with which human groups, combining biological and cultural resources, adapt to their environment (Lieben, 1973). Due to beliefs in supernatural elements and religion in matters concerning health, different ethnic groups are almost invariably found to repose faith in diviners or traditional medicinal men, sorcerers and shamans. However, they are not averse in accepting western medicine whenever available (Chaudhury, 1986). Many of the health and social problems faced by the poor populations is in fact not only due to endogenous cultural factors but rather a complex series of pull-push forces that undermine small scale economies. However, integrating poor communities into national and international economies does not necessarily improve the living conditions. In order to bring equitable distribution of health facilities to the individuals, it is necessary to focus on the underlying political and economic forces that affect the distribution and experience of a disease. Participatory approach, enhanced by the primary health care becames a corner stone to conduct and evaluate development programs. This people-centered development became one anthropological approach to economic development (Pillsbury, 1986), which helps to remove such inequalities. However, critical medical anthropologists explore the socio-economic and political processes to examine the health and illness representations monitored by power relations within a society and try to identify these structural forces that undermine the health of poor and marginalized groups. The health needs of the people can be addressed by employing anthropological research methods. However, the researcher used ground-level ethnographic approaches in the consideration of the political economy of health, and the effects of social inequality on people’s health. This approach will help the researcher to understand the relationship and challenges between medical providers with political structures and individuals. Further, the empirical data presented will support the significance of the cause and effect of the disease prevalent.