Description

Cambodia's Phnom Kulen National Park is historically known as a source of medicinal plants for traditional Khmer medicine. This study aimed to determine factors that influence choices between traditional and western medicine in three villages located within the boundaries of the park. It focused on initial treatment methods as well as the factors influencing choices for prenatal and postpartum care. Thirty semi-structured interviews were conducted in the villages of Anlong Thom, Tmar Chruonh, and Ta Penh. A total of 40 respondents, 30 women and 10 men ranging in age from 20 to 84 years, contributed to the results. Respondents indicated a wide variety of perceptions of each healthcare system, with 85% of respondents using western medicine in their initial methods of treatment. The only remaining condition with widespread use of traditional medicine was reproductive care, a condition in which 83% of respondents reported using traditional medicine. Factors such as cost, distance, health center limitations, and perceived efficacy were shown to be common factors influencing decisions. For reproductive care, culturally-specific perceptions of childbirth, mistrust in health care professionals, and parental influence played primary roles in determining methods of prenatal and postpartum care. In contrast to other studies, this study doesn't find traditional medicine to be the primary method of treatment. Instead, results suggest that previous work overemphasized the presence of traditional medicine for treating illnesses and underestimated its use in reproductive care. This lack of awareness is then reflected in national health policies that fail to serve the needs of Cambodians.

COinS
 

Navigating Traditional and Western Medicine in Villages in Phnom Kulen National Park, Cambodia

Cambodia's Phnom Kulen National Park is historically known as a source of medicinal plants for traditional Khmer medicine. This study aimed to determine factors that influence choices between traditional and western medicine in three villages located within the boundaries of the park. It focused on initial treatment methods as well as the factors influencing choices for prenatal and postpartum care. Thirty semi-structured interviews were conducted in the villages of Anlong Thom, Tmar Chruonh, and Ta Penh. A total of 40 respondents, 30 women and 10 men ranging in age from 20 to 84 years, contributed to the results. Respondents indicated a wide variety of perceptions of each healthcare system, with 85% of respondents using western medicine in their initial methods of treatment. The only remaining condition with widespread use of traditional medicine was reproductive care, a condition in which 83% of respondents reported using traditional medicine. Factors such as cost, distance, health center limitations, and perceived efficacy were shown to be common factors influencing decisions. For reproductive care, culturally-specific perceptions of childbirth, mistrust in health care professionals, and parental influence played primary roles in determining methods of prenatal and postpartum care. In contrast to other studies, this study doesn't find traditional medicine to be the primary method of treatment. Instead, results suggest that previous work overemphasized the presence of traditional medicine for treating illnesses and underestimated its use in reproductive care. This lack of awareness is then reflected in national health policies that fail to serve the needs of Cambodians.

 

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