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Nurs Philos ; 10(1): 34-41, 2009 Jan.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-19154295


From the Middle Ages onto the 19th century, following the trend set in leper hospitals, madness was to be hidden, secluded in dark places, far away from the mainstream of society. The emergence of the mad person, perceived as inevitably different, allows to make the boundaries between reason and folly, between human and inhuman, irrelevant. If leper hospitals have almost emptied out, if there are much fewer confinement facilities, the values and images related to the leper or the mad person, as well as the sense of exclusion, continue to persist. The purpose of this paper is to show clearly that this matter of exclusion is a serious legacy that could very well apply nowadays to other figures that, each in their own way, symbolize menace or mockery. It applies notably to the aged and the dying who both appear as the opposite of modern society and its values of efficiency, productivity and profitability. The multiplication of places where old people are left to die, and the elderly who are crowded in old folks homes, stand as proof of their exclusion from society. Nevertheless, youth and old age coexist, as well as life and death. If care of others is the trait of a humane civilization, must it be understood that barbarism consists in ignoring its own humanity as well as that of others? In view of such practices of exclusion, policy statements based on recognition of human dignity, where ethical obligation rests on recognition of others and humanism, are rather paradoxical. Is this a paradox or a deadlock; a condition of exclusion or of reconnaissance?

Atitude Frente a Saúde , Individualidade , Institucionalização/história , Filosofia/história , Distância Psicológica , Envelhecimento , Atitude Frente a Morte , História do Século XX , Humanos , Hanseníase/história , Transtornos Mentais/história , Preconceito , Alienação Social , Controle Social Formal , Valores Sociais , Estereotipagem
Soc Sci Med ; 42(1): 3-19, 1996 Jan.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-8745104


The study analyzes the traditional beliefs and practices concerning leprosy of the Limba people of Sierra Leone. It shows that this dialectally diverse ethnic group has two views of leprosy and its cause, and two varieties of stigma associated with the disease. The Limba have abandoned their traditional treatments for leprosy in response to an effective leprosy control programme, but retained their traditional world view, including its definition of illness, which holds a person seriously ill only when he has severe pain or disability. Thus, they seek treatment from the programme, but often at a relatively advanced stage of the disease. The study shows that the Limba have reinterpreted the notion of 'germs' as introduced by medical workers, and that leprosy control workers have their own misunderstandings of Limba beliefs and practices. The study points the way to improved communication between leprosy workers and Limba patients by focusing on the points at which their views differ, and by identifying concepts within Limba world view that can be adapted by leprosy workers to help convey their message. The study emphasizes the importance of world view as a key to understanding patient attitudes and behaviour in developing countries, and to making valid cross-cultural comparisons, but notes that it can take years for an investigator to understand the world view of a particular culture. It argues that in short-term research projects there is an advantage to working with an anthropologist who has in-depth knowledge of the culture, but who may not be a specialist in medical anthropology.

Atitude Frente a Saúde , Evolução Cultural , Educação em Saúde , Hanseníase/prevenção & controle , Antropologia Cultural , Comparação Transcultural , Humanos , Hanseníase/etnologia , Hanseníase/terapia , Medicina Tradicional , Fitoterapia , Preconceito , População Rural , Serra Leoa/etnologia , Valores Sociais , Bruxaria
Soc Sci Med ; 29(7): 799-811, 1989.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-2799423


In Pakistan approx. 30% of the 18,000 known leprosy patients have dropped out of their treatment programs. To investigate reasons for such widespread noncompliance, 128 diagnosed leprosy patients--59 outpatients and 69 inpatients--were interviewed in Karachi. More than half of the 'noncompliant' outpatients denied having the disease. Denial was found to be an understandable coping mechanism in view of the severe stigma associated with leprosy. The presence of close-knit extended families, in which joint decision-making was the norm and in which such a dread diagnosis could spell the end of job and marriage prospects for even distant relatives, contributed to the likelihood of denial. In such a setting, the very term 'noncompliant' appeared to be an oversimplification since it covered so many different types of culturally-constrained behavior. In addition, many of the patients who initially seemed most 'compliant' by virtue of being long-term hospital inpatients in fact owed their hospitalization to the fact that they had been markedly noncompliant in the past. Thus the usual view that adherence to a biomedical treatment regimen constitutes 'compliance' and that nonadherence to such a regimen constitutes 'noncompliance' proved inadequate for understanding the health behavior of these Third World leprosy victims. The study also showed that many patients had initially consulted traditional healers, inadequately-trained physicians, and/or untrained medical practitioners for treatment of their symptoms, which resulted in lengthy delays before they were correctly diagnosed. Further, even after the diagnosis was made and appropriate medications were prescribed by trained personnel, most patients were not told what had caused their leprosy and how the drug regimen worked to combat it: when questioned, only 4% of the 128 respondents attributed the disease to infectious organisms. In addition, patients were usually not warned in advance of the possibility of undesirable side effects from their leprosy medications, which led to further 'compliance' problems. The findings of this study emphasize the need for better training of physicians and other health care providers in early diagnosis of leprosy and better health education of diagnosed patients. To be truly effective, the treatment of leprosy must include counseling of extended families and education of the public at large as well as enhanced communication with the patients themselves.

Atitude Frente a Saúde , Hanseníase/psicologia , Cooperação do Paciente , Adolescente , Adulto , Idoso , Idoso de 80 Anos ou mais , Criança , Características Culturais , Negação em Psicologia , Feminino , Humanos , Masculino , Pessoa de Meia-Idade , Paquistão , Educação de Pacientes como Assunto , Valores Sociais