Accepted paper:

BIOETHICS, MEDICAL PLURALISM AND HEALTH SEEKING BEHAVIOUR IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES: A NEED FOR A NEW PARADIGM.

Author:

Rajesh Kundargi (Pondicherry Central University)

Paper short abstract:

The paper tries to bring into focus the ability and the efficacy of the public health care in the wake of the changing priorities of the people in the developing world especially when they have been practicing medical pluralism for quite a long time now. Under these circumstances what are the problems faced by both the providers and the recipients of healthcare? How do they deal with it? Can our healthcare systems, public or otherwise, take care of all the health problems of the people singlehandedly? What does the situation entail?

Paper long abstract:

The new discipline of bioethics is very much an offshoot of the fast emerging biomedical technologies and its interplay with what's being called as indigenous or ethnomedical practices of the people. And more often, what is being overlooked during the doctor-patient interactions are not just protocols and medical regulations, but in fact the very bedrock of medical ethics - the humanist ideas of bodily holism, integrity and human dignity. In these parleys between the "knowledgeable" providers and "layman" recipients, clarity is lacking as to whose world views are represented and how? Deeply held beliefs in human dignity and patient-centered care are not solely the legacy of western enlightenment. The modern bioethical arguments of "right to primary healthcare" and "health for all" are to a large extent based on the Euro-American notions of contract and individual choice. And therefore they create only a semblance of ethical choice in an intrinsically unethical context. The call for a unitary and absolute ethic of medical care devoted for the enhancement of the health status of the people at large ends all ethical inquiry and any possibility of a global social ethic of health care.

panel PE28
Anthropology of food and nutrition in the globalized economy