1. The Chagas disease is a public health menace, not only in Bolivia but in most Latin America countries. It is a challenge especially for indigenous communities that still uphold traditional culture. Protozoa causing the disease is known as Trypanosoma cruzi and is spread by an insect known as vinchucas among the locals (Verdú & Ruiz, 2002). Communities infested with the vinchucas claim that there is no connection between the Chagas disease and the vinchucas. According to the Guaranis, the presence of vinchucas in their homes is a sign of fertility. They further believe that the Chagas disease is a consequence of the violation of taboos and customs. Therefore, people with the Chagas disease are stigmatized, and this ignorance is what majorly leads to the spread of the disease. Their hunting and gathering lifestyle also plays a crucial role in the spread of the disease since they mostly eat contaminated food from the uncooked plants and animals.
2. Some of the steps that can be taken by a public health professional include raising awareness of the relationship between the disease and its causative agent, that is, the vinchucas insect. Public health professionals should help the natives to understand the connection between the death or sickness of their loved ones and the presence of the insect in their homes. Additionally, the importance of the hygiene in the homes should be stressed among the communities that are most affected.
3. There are several challenges that may affect public health professionals working in public health projects with indigenous populations. First, public health officials are likely to face resistance from the local communities upon the advice of the traditional medicine men. Culture shock is likely to be another challenge. The healthcare professional might have a difficulty in understanding the cultural behaviors and attitudes of the indigenous people. Other minor challenges include language barrier, accessibility and hostility from members of the local community.
4. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is an alternative approach to Western medicine that is functionally different from it, but still effective. A major distinction is that traditional Chinese medicine views medicine in a holistic manner, while Western medicine uses reductionism to find out the exact cause of the illness. The main components of treatment in TCM include Chinese herbal medicine, acupuncture, massage, nutrition, and exercising. In Western medicine, the main components of the treatment are surgery, therapy, and pharmaceuticals (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, n.d.).
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5. It would be difficult to collect the evidence to scientifically prove the effectiveness of TCM because it relies on intuitive principles of diseases that involve the balance of qualitative elements. Unlike the modern medicine, the various aspects of TCM cannot be reliably measured and determined using scientific principles and methods. Its methods are what scientists might term as speculative. As such, there is not enough scientific evidence to ascertain whether TCM methods work. Additionally, there are not many people who get treated by TCM methods that come out for privacy purposes due to their beliefs. This discreteness prevents researchers from making validating claims regarding the success of TCM.
6. TCM may clash with modern medicine because its treatment methods are compound and rely on ideas that conflict with modern medicine. For TCM, the specific cause of the illness does not matter. Its main concern is the part of the body system that is not balanced, and it focuses on the restoration of this balance. Another area of difference is that the Chinese view diseases and ailments as setbacks in the human’s system whereas western medicine attributes diseases to external factors such as viruses and bacteria. Concerning treatment, modern medicine proceeds on the view that getting rid of the organism causing illness is enough to restore the body back to normalcy. TCM, on the other hand, believes in dealing with the aspects of the body which tend to weaken the body’s immunity system that often calls for a raft of treatment measures.
7. According to the ancient Indians, the spheres of health and illnesses are controlled by the three primary forces. These forces include the Kapha, Pitta, and Vata, and they entail a combination of space, air, fire, earth, and water (Satow, Kumar, Burken & Inciardi, 2008). These forces, known as doshas, are responsible for various features in the human body and mind. The forces regulate all mental and physical processes and are the source of health and fulfillment. The forces foster balance in the human body and when we live contrary to them, mental and physical imbalance sets in leading to illnesses.
8. Both, the TCM and the Ayurveda are based on the principle that the composition of our bodies plays a major role in establishing disease susceptibility. Another sector in which the two forms of medicine concur is the fact that both of them believe that nature has an important role in ensuring health among individuals.
9. Indians believe that human beings are responsible for the choices they make and the actions they take. Accordingly, good health can be maintained if a person makes the right choices with a lengthy life in mind. Ayurveda advocates for the undertaking of routine activities that promote stability of the body. Being mindful of the doshas and working towards maintaining them is the key to having decent health.
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