Social Historical Context Of Health and Illnesses Attributions In West- African Countries: A Comparative Analysis

Friday, July 18, 2014: 5:30 PM
Room: 304
Oral Presentation
Olayemi Jacob OGUNNIYI , University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa
Akinola George DOSUNMU , Tai Solarin University of Education, Ijebu Ode, Nigeria
Undoubtedly, people of diverse cultural backgrounds often make different attributions of illness, health, disease, symptoms and treatment. Cultural differences in health attributions have major implications for medical professionals because of overtime; attributions play an essential role in the formation of beliefs concerning health and illness. Different cultural groups have diverse belief systems with regard to health and healing in comparison to the Western biomedical model of medicine. For instance, with regard to health beliefs in the United States, African Americans may likely to attribute illness externally to destiny or the will of God and believe in the healing power of prayer. But West African patients may be more likely to attribute illness to a spiritual or social causes rather than a physiological or scientific cause and thus expect health practitioners to provide an experimental and a spiritual reason why they have been afflicted with illness. Without mincing words, in order to effectively treat these illnesses, remedies must be both material and spiritual that is (herbal remedy and amulets Vaughn, Jacquez & Baker (2009). This paper therefore attempts several aspects of how culture affects the health and well-being of patients in West African countries which are significantly different from those of Western world. Because cultural issues have increasingly become incorporated into medical care as there has been greater recognition of the intimate tie between cultural beliefs and health beliefs.