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Chinese and Guatemalan immigrants comprise a growing population in the United States. These people have a diverse cultural heritage which impacts their health. Though the majority of the Chinese have shifted to Western medicine, some still apply for indigenous medicine, while others mix the two types. More specifically, younger Chinese normally consult healthcare providers but turn to traditional medicine if western medicine does not work (Purnell & Paulanka, 2008). On the other hand, older people first try traditional medicine and use western medicine if indigenous medicine fails to work. More importantly, mental illness is stigmatized, and many families seek assistance from folk healers, rather than contacting health caregivers. Moreover, the majority of Chinese hide their family members living with mental and physical disabilities. Furthermore, the Chinese deal with pain by massaging, applying warmth, applying pressure on the affected part, taking aspirin. Also, acupuncture and moxibustion are applied in treating many ailments and diseases.
On their part, Guatemalans normally seek health care after getting advice from mothers, grandmothers, and trusted elders. If the method fails, the Guatemalans like the Chinese seek assistance from folk healers (Purnell & Paulanka, 2008). The Western method is applied as the last resort. Furthermore, Guatemalans fear hospitals and normally wait until they become seriously ill before seeking healthcare. Early warning signs and symptoms of an illness are ignored waiting for them to fade away naturally. Consequently, Guatemalans tend to measure their health and illness based on their ability to do their work. Minor illnesses and pains that do not interfere with working are overlooked thus if men and women are doing their work normally, they feel healthy. However, if pain and illness interfere with normal working, Guatemalans take it seriously. Besides, Guatemalans believe that incapacitating diseases are a punishment from God, rather than poor prevention of late detection.
Moreover, many Chinese generally accept organ donations and transplants as well as blood transfusion (Purnell & Paulanka, 2008). Nevertheless, Chinese families are skeptical of allowing autopsies as they fear “tearing up” of their loved ones. On the other hand, many Guatemalans fear acupuncture and blood donation since they think that giving out blood exposes them to health problems due to reduced blood amount. Moreover, Guatemalans fear organ donation and normally don’t like questions involving the same from health care providers. Nonetheless, Guatemalans greatly respect healthcare givers and view them as experts in medical care. In contrast, Chinese respect the traditional healers more than modern health care workers, whom they distrust due to pain and invasiveness treatment.
The health care beliefs by the people of Chinese heritage and those of Guatemalan heritage may affect the delivery of evidence-based health care. For instance, the Chinese attitudes towards mental illness may act as an important barrier to quality health care (Knaak et al 2015). Stigma on the mentally ill and their families are linked to limited awareness, and hence there is a need for enhanced awareness campaigns. Furthermore, traditional beliefs among the Chinese and Guatemalans on the treatment of illnesses and diseases may have an impact on healthcare-seeking behavior (Boulogne, 2015). Thus, rather than consulting health caregivers for treatment, patients may rely on traditional beliefs and practices of contacting traditional healers, which may have adverse effects on their health, especially with the emergence of the new strain of diseases.
Boulogne, J. (2015) ‘Medical myths and notions in ancient Greece’, Medycyna Nowozytna. vol. 8, no. 2, pp. 33–52
Knaak, S., Ungar, T., & Patten S. (2015). Mental illness stigma as a quality of care problem. Lancet Psychiatry. 2(10):863–864.
Purnell, D.R., & Paulanka, B,J. (2008). Trans-cultural health care. A culturally Competent Approach. Philadelphia: Davis Company