Author:Tarryn Phillips (La Trobe University)
Paper short abstract:
On the Fijian island of Ovalau, health outcomes are relatively poor and use of the hospital is limited and often problematically delayed. This paper examines the weight accorded to ethno-medical beliefs, poverty and limited accessibility as variables that shape treatment-seeking decisions on the island.
Paper long abstract:
On the regional Fijian island of Ovalau, health problems are understood and treated through a range of medical paradigms: Indigenous Fijian traditions, Christian faith-healing, Indo-Fijian Ayurveda, Western bio-medical science and public health interventions. Yet health outcomes remain relatively poor. Many preventable health conditions are caused - and treatable health conditions are exacerbated - by limited or delayed use of the hospital on the island. This paper draws on preliminary ethnographic data to examine the factors that shape and constrain hospital use in a medically pluralistic landscape. In particular, I examine the weight accorded to ethno-medical beliefs, attitudes towards hospitals, poverty and limited transporting options as variables that shape treatment-seeking decisons in this context of uncertainty and medical pluralism.
Managing medical uncertainty