Medicalisation in the context of rural Bangladesh
In this chapter, I will discuss villagers’s evaluation of existing health care system. They said that health Care systems like Kabiraji, Homeopathy, and medicine have no side effects. By taking this kind of medicine, they feel more comfortable than any other medicine like Biomedicine. Most of the women prefer homeopathic medical for themselves and their children. Villager’s therapy management depends on types of diseases, acuteness of diseases, their resources and gender & age of the patient. Primarily villagers choose therapy management based on types of disease. For example diseases like pain management, conjunctivitis, skincare, hair care and cold-related, etc. villagers prefer homemade remedies.? when acuteness of diseases goes to the severe level, and then villagers concern local doctor or go to the district hospital .Choosing therapy management is also depends on patient household resources or individual capital. Capital may be their economic, social and cultural too. ?There are some households with well economic background, prefer traditional medicine to biomedicine, and they don’t concern with doctor even patient condition goes worse. Gender and age of patient are also influential in therapy management of villagers. Female feels safe in homeopathic and traditional medicine. They think that biomedicine could harm their body besides curing. They also think it is most expensive where traditional medicine’s cost is comparatively less.
Priority in Choosing Healthcare SystemFlowchart: villager’s priority in Choosing Healthcare System
Villagers of my research area initially depend on home remedies in the healthcare process. Along with home remedies, they also concern with a homeopathic specialist, kabiraj, doctor, and religious healer. This flowchart shows villager’s preference and priority of treatment. this direction are not always found, it may be reverse of this direction
Primarily villagers prefer homemade remedies for most of the diseases. For example, pain management, conjunctivitis, skincare, hair care and cold-related problem. 66.67% of my respondents primarily prefer homemade remedies to cure most of the diseases.
? Masud is a 14-year-old boy, reading in class nine. His father is a farmer who has 5-acre cultivating land, and his mother is a house wife. He said “last year I suffered from conjunctivitis. My eyes get red, and I could not open my eyes when I woke up from sleep, and I felt pain in my eyes too. My mother suggested me wash my eyes with fresh water and prohibited from watching TV and going out in the dust. She also made a drop by smashing tiyamoni(local name of herbal trees) leaf to use in my eyes. I used once and twice in a day, and this drop can’t preserve. It has to use instantly after making.
Kabiraj is most important local healer in my research area. Kabiraj supports villegers to cure their illness. Kabiraj uses different tree and plant and leafs to produce medicine. kabiraj support villagers in curing different diseases like as long time suffering from fever, unusual behaviour of children (Ex. crying continuously, sudden fever of children), jaundice, broken hand and leg and headache etc. Kabiraji medicines are a product of tree and plant which make villagers feel comfortable to take.
Rataon is popular Kabiraj in my research area. He has been serving villagers for 10 years with his traditional and spiritual healing knowledge. It is his inherited profession which he learnt from his father. He makes a paste for jaundice sufferers by mixing turmeric powder with some ingredients. It is given to jaundice sufferers to apply in his body. Along with turmeric paste, patients are also given to drink green coconut water which is mixed with juicy of some herbal trees leaf.
Sources : fieldwork 2017
There are some villagers who are orthodox believers of Kabiraji. Although the patient’s condition goes to severe, they seek support from Kobiraj.
Kulsom was 10 years old girl, who died of hydrophobia. Her father is an immigrant worker in Saudi Arabia. Her mother Monowara, a house wife, said that her daughter was bitten by a dog in her leg in the morning of Eidul Adha (the second biggest muslim religious festival) .Next day my mother-in-law’s went to kobiraj along with my daughter. My mother-in-laws had a good experience from this Kabiraj and he is also popular in our locality too. Hearing everything, Kabiraj said them to come again 2 days later and. They returned home with some oil from Kabraj. We applied this oil in my doughter’s leg where she was bitten. When they went again after 2 days, Kobiraj gave some medicine. A few months later she became sick. Her condition was getting worse day by day. She could not drink water and eat any food too. We called in Kabiraj in our home. He colud not do anything .One day she passed away.
Sources : fieldwork 2017
Female and older person prefer local health care system for therapy management. Most of my female respondents at first consider local and Homeopathic medicine over Biomedecine. They think it free from side effects, and the cost is less than Biomedicine.
Halima is a post-graduate girl. She has not married yet. She is a guest teacher in local high school. For a few years, she has been suffering from the irregular menstrual problem. At first she concerns with a gynaecologist who suggested her some medicine. She said when I took medicine I didn’t face any menstrual problem. Whenever I did stop taking medicine, Problem got started again. There was some side effects of medicine that I was getting fat and my weights was increasing day by day .For this reason I stopped taking medicine and I started concern with a Homeopathic specialist. Now I am taking Homeopathic medical and it doesn’t not have any effects on my weight.
Sources : fieldwork 2017
Especially pregnant women and his family’s member prefer traditional medicine. They think that biomedicine is so powerful medicine which can harm the baby even can lead to miscarry of baby.
Biomedicine is also popular among villagers. Most of the informant with higher education and well economic background always prefer and uses modern healthcare system. 20% of my higher educated informants always consider modern healthcare system over traditional one. One of the main reasons behind this is that they believe that Biomedicine practitioners are well trained and experienced. Villagers consider modern medicines as a faster and quickly response one than any other medicine. They commented that other healthcare system like Homeopathy is time consuming in curing process. They don’t want to take risk by wasting time in long procedure.
Flowchart: Villagers view of preferring biomedicine
Villagers also seek religious healer support to cure their illness. Religious healer is their last hope when other existing healthcare systems failed to cure their illness. Because they believe only Allah can cure from all diseases where everyone failed and religious healer is the one who can help them in this critical situation with his ability of prayer and the ability of reciting verses from the holy religious book. If they fail to afford the cost of other healthcare systems, they go for religious leader too. Wedel .Johan (2009) described in his research of Miskitu people of Easter Nicaragua used local healing knowledge to compensate for biomedicine failure and not actually as a rural alternative.