Central to our values and our work, access to healthcare challenges our personal and our professional ability to listen and respect others. Far from being universal, access to care strongly depends on the standards, values, knowledge and cultural representations specific to each community and it is essential to keep in mind that ill health is viewed differently according to cultural and social codes.
Access to care strongly depends on the standards, values, knowledge and cultural representations.
In the field of public health, scientific knowledge sometimes conflicts with traditional wisdom and practices, which can in turn run counter to humanitarian relief efforts. Attitudes of patients and families to sickness vary from one country to another according to their culture and their social background. Prevailing norms, values, representations and practices govern how people view and provide care.
Taking account of such issues is critical to the provision of humanitarian aid. Understanding cultural differences, adopting critical distance to the professional stance, being mindful of the social and cultural diversity of patients all facilitate and improve access to quality and effective care.