Document Detail

Cross-cultural medicine and diverse health beliefs. Ethiopians abroad.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  9074336     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
A large number of Ethiopians reside abroad as refugees, immigrants, or students. To provide adequate care, physicians must understand their beliefs about health and medicine. To Ethiopians, health is an equilibrium between the body and the outside. Excess sun is believed to cause mitch ("sunstroke"), leading to skin disease. Blowing winds are thought to cause pain wherever they hit. Sexually transmitted disease is attributed to urinating under a full moon. People with buda, "evil eye," are said to be able to harm others by looking at them. Ethiopians often complain of rasehn, "my head" (often saying it burns); yazorehnyal, "spinning" (not a true vertigo); and libehn, "my heart" (usually indicating dyspepsia rather than a cardiac problem). Most Ethiopians have faith in traditional healers and procedures. In children, uvulectomy (to prevent presumed suffocation during pharyngitis in babies), the extraction of lower incisors (to prevent diarrhea), and the incision of eyelids (to prevent or cure conjunctivitis) are common. Circumcision is performed on almost all men and 90% of women. Ethiopians do bloodletting for moygnbagegn, a neurologic disease that includes fever and syncope. Chest pain is treated by cupping. Ethiopians often prefer injections to tablets. Bad news is usually given to families of patients and not the patients themselves. Zar is a form of spirit possession treated by a traditional healer negotiating with the alien spirit and giving gifts to the possessed patient. Health education must address Ethiopian concerns and customs.
R Hodes
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Case Reports; Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  The Western journal of medicine     Volume:  166     ISSN:  0093-0415     ISO Abbreviation:  West. J. Med.     Publication Date:  1997 Jan 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  1997-04-17     Completed Date:  1997-04-17     Revised Date:  2009-11-18    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0410504     Medline TA:  West J Med     Country:  UNITED STATES    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  29-36     Citation Subset:  AIM; IM    
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MeSH Terms
Attitude to Health*
Chest Pain / therapy
Circumcision, Male
Conjunctivitis / therapy
Cross-Cultural Comparison*
Diarrhea, Infantile / therapy
Ethiopia / ethnology
Eyelids / surgery
Incisor / surgery
Infant, Newborn
Medicine, African Traditional*
Middle Aged
Professional-Family Relations
Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Tooth Extraction
Uvula / surgery

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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