Sociolcultural Discrepancies in Healthcare

Natasha Tungare

 Final year physiotherapy student

 Sancheti college of Physiotherapy, Pune

Ever had interaction with people from different regions? Infact when you try getting to know such varied people you realize that their culture is different, their lifestyle is different. There are many aspects which gives rise to these cultural differences. You get to realize this difference in between different people due to cross cultural communication.

When it comes to medical field, doctor- patient relation develops when the interaction is strong and not just because the doctor is able to cure the patient with his medications. A good doctor not only touches physical domain while treating the patient but also his social, cultural and emotional aspects. At times it happens that certain patients return dissatisfied after the treatment. And this is usually due to sociocultural discrepancies. Now why do such things occur? The medications are good, the treatment is apt but still there is something which hinders an efficient and effective healthcare for the patient.

In different regions, the disease, it’s symptoms, it’s medications might be the same, but what differs is the person and the place. That’s where you need to tackle with the lifestyle and culture. People belong to different race, religion, caste and all these decide their dietary habits, their personality, their culture and their overall lifestyle. These aspects are needed to be considered for patient healthcare. Many a times patient refuses to adapt or change to a certain lifestyle. A simple example to give- patient needs to enhance his protein uptake and so the doctor advised him to consume fish and egg products. Patient refuses so because he is a vegetarian.

Beliefs, perceptions, desires also change when people belong to different regions. Example- Traditions we’re being followed during olden days about treatment are still followed now. Applying turmeric as an antiseptic, drinking vegetable juices are few of them. Very recently a famous incident had occured in a city where a lady passed away due to gastrointestinal issues after consuming bottle guord juice. No doubt vegetable juices are healthy but we need to know about certain precautions as well. There are people who still visit gurujis and babas do as to get treated faster or to get rid of an illness. They fail to understand that visiting a doctor is more important. Many a times, language as well acts as a barrier in communication between patient and doctor.

Every healthcare professional faces these kinds of situations where the bookish knowledge of so many years doesn’t help. And here the sociocultural factors of the patient are to be considered. When these discrepancies are handled the doctor patient relation would enhance and give rise to a new level of healthcare.










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