Non western epistemologies and etiologies of disease and cures

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The Philippines, though being a predominantly Catholic nation and bearing the distinction of the only Catholic country in the Southeast Asian region, still traces its historical roots to its rich cultural-religious heritage influenced by its different colonizers.


When a Filipino gets sick he asks three questions which reveal the three sources of sickness from his point of view -
he first question is asked because Filipinos believe there are physical causes for illness. It could be something that he ate or drank, a change in the weather, taking a bath at the wrong time (during menstruation or fever), or germs. These sicknesses are treated by doctors but due to the cost of western medicine, folk medicine is usually resorted to. This includes use of herbs and chemicals and sometimes saying a powerful prayer (Henry, 2006).
If there is no apparent physical cause or if medical doctors are unable to cure a sickness, the second question is asked on the belief that if God or the spirit-world has been offended, then sickness could be sent as a punishment.
With this background, a health practitioner dealing with this particular cultural group has to be aware and sensitive enough so as to deliver a patient-centered and patient-approved service as what Leonard Berry, a professor in Mays Business School at Texas A&M proposes (2003). Professor Berry studied the healthcare industry and says that its future depends on a patient-centered approach. Berry explained -
Working at the high-end of expertise is a departure from what goes on now in the industry.. ...
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