People’s perception of health and illnesses differs based on their culture and their socialization. This results in a situation where the social basis of health is a significant aspect of the medical profession. Doctors and other health professionals have to engage the communities through socialization and medicine in order to harmonize their beliefs and definitions. In the Ugandan culture, the issue of chronic illnesses and disabilities is perceived differently from the Western perspective of the same. In this culture, illness is associated with failing to handle inter and intrapersonal relationships adequately. This means a person who is chronically ill is expected to seek moral and social healing, as opposed to medical. In many Ugandan communities, disability is viewed in the same way as being caused by moral and social disorder that the individual has to overcome and is especially associated with the ancestors (Hutchinson, Habte, & Mulusa, 1999).
Dying and death are treated with wonder since they are lie’s mysteries. In their traditional culture, they did not believe in the afterlife and thus had to mourn their dead by wailing and weeping. Failure to wail would result in suspicion for causing the death of the individual (Vaughn, Jacquez, & Baker, 2009). The body had to wait for five days to confirm that it is not coming back to life. After the mourning period, which took ten days after the burial, a feast would be held with the village elders in attendance.
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These cultural perceptions about illnesses, disability, and death differ significantly from Western values. Chronic illnesses in the West are believed to be caused by pathogens such as viruses or bacteria or imbalances in the body. Although social changes may play a part in treating such conditions, medical interventions are the primary strategies (Vaughn, Jacquez, & Baker, 2009). Belief in supernatural powers or moral interventions in healing does not exist in West. Therefore, disabilities are merely health conditions that may be improved with medical interventions. Issues of ghosts and sorcery are not prevalent, and death is accepted as an end to life with no need for extended or unreasonable wailing as a sign of mourning.
These beliefs influence nursing practice by considering that there every health condition has a medical explanation and thus can be handled. Nursing practice is aimed at ensuring that all people get essential medical attention to improve their health. However, the issue of holistic medicine is significant because it focuses on improving all aspects of life. A health condition has to be tackled from the core to ensure that it is adequately cleared by the medicine.
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