March 09, 2011

'Traditional' or 'modern' maternal medicine

Continuing from last night's forum about maternal health, I wanted to pose a few discussion questions to you all.

Can 'traditional' medicine be reconciled with 'modern' medicine? If a family member prefers to use 'traditional' methods of healing for a pregnant relative facing complications, is that the right option? If they have been told a woman will die unless they receive 'modern' medicine, what is to be done? What is more important, an immediate life, or cultural promotion and tolerance that may lead to a more sustainable acceptance of 'traditional' medicine. Thoughts?

1 comment:

  1. Devil's Advocate: while it is true that there are plenty of circumstances where traditional medicine is unable to accommodate life-and-death complications of childbirth...does this question construct a binary between the modern as "progressive" and the traditional as "cultural"...without discussing how the two interrelate? Not to mention "traditional" methods may not necessarily be unhelpful. For example, it is "tradition" in Chinese culture (or at least Taiwan) for women to have post-natal care at home (the mother in law is expected to take care of the daughter in law for a few months post-childbirth, and promote special nutrition-packed diets etc.) Thus I think it is important to consider the construction of categories and how that influences what we may associate with medical practices, human rights, and "culture."

    Not to mention, a lot of complications that now arise within the realm of maternal health have been caused not by the inability of "traditions" and "culture" to adequately save the lives of women. But rather, modern medicine combined with an unaccountable global system of pharmaceutial markets and a blatant disregard by the "west" for the lives of women in the global "south" ie. providing unsafe contraceptive medicine (granted, sometimes with the assistance of oppressive states) for the purposes of using women's bodies as experiements...which has resulted in many accounted for incidences of miscarriages and other health problems.

    Rebuttals? Comments?