Culture On Health Disparities And Health Related Practices Term Paper

Length: 6 pages Sources: 6 Subject: Health Type: Term Paper Paper: #50848154
Excerpt from Term Paper :

Culture and Health Care |

A Review of Culture on Health Disparities, Health Related Practices and Healthcare Outcomes

Social Status

The social status of an individual refers to the rank one holds within a group or community; and requires conformance to such rights, lifestyle, and duties as understood by prestige and social hierarchy (Encyclopedia Britannica, 2016). Status may be attained or ascribed in different ways. One, for instance may inherit such status at birth as it happens in monarchies and Kingships. This kind of status climb has nothing to do with one's innate abilities or skills. Ascribed status is based on such factors as age, family relations, lineage, birth, sex, and similar considerations while acquired status is earned. It may be based on such factors as the level of education, marital status, occupation and similar factors that come with accomplishment of certain feats that required some practical effort.

Status is about scale stratification. The notion of high position in society is based on the ability of one to control other people's lives in some way. Such control may be by law, order or by influence. Relative status is a strong influence on people's behavior towards each other. Generally, status varies with social context. For example, one's position within the family often determines the perception by others in the wider community. Occupational consideration is also an important factor that influences the perception of status. In industrial economies, such factors as the ability to consume certain categories of goods, a respected occupation, attire, physical appearance, one's manners and general etiquette have increasingly become a yardstick for determining status; a departure from the traditional culture, being pinned on lineage. Occupation in the industrial society is based on a continuum. There is no stiff or rigid hierarchy. Status is closely linked with morality and etiquette and in most modern societies today, has become a function of wealth (Encyclopedia Britannica, 2016).

In Africa, in many societies, a host of factors including their place of origin and family relations determined the social status of an individual. For example, if one was born in a wealthy family or one that had close friendly links with an influential, powerful or rich family, such a person's social status would be higher than others who belonged to lesser families. The converse was also true if one was born into a poor family.

Furthermore, being a male carries a superior status to that of a female. Such perceptions still hold to a certain extent but they are high breeds of a mix with western influences such as western education and perception of status. Therefore, in addition to considering aspects such as...


Indeed, accomplishments are also a strong indication in the new considerations.

Cultural Habits and Health

African culture is passed from one generation to the next. It is important to note that Africa is not one large entity with identical cultures and people. The cultural content in the continent is diverse; just as its people, societies, and identities. Nevertheless, the majority of African cultures believed in the existence of a supreme being. They believed that such (supernatural) a being created humans and endowed them with resources such as land and rivers, animals and similar abundance that was critical for survival. The Supreme Being is known by different names in different communities. The commonality is that the Supreme Being is the creator of the universe. He is the provider and can cause life and death. African cultures, like cultures from many other regions of the world have also been subject to western influences. Thus, the belief in the existence in a single supreme being is one of the influences of such interaction and is called God.

People's cultural practices and habits, both affect not only their health but also other aspects of life. These aspects include their social relationships, their contribution to the health of society, and its functioning. Their immediate social environment affects humans. Different communities and races have unique cultural inclinations and beliefs when it comes to disease and health matters. These unique ways of approaching social and cultural aspects of life also influence the way people view, respond to and manage health matters that confront them (Asu, Gever & Joshua, 2013).

Traditional cultural practices and values are still at the heart of many African societies. Analysis of African culture often presents two versions. The style of naming children is one of the most conspicuous and resilient symbols of African culture. Others that are still strongly laced with African tradition and culture include marriage and initiation ceremonies. According to Asu Gever &Joshua (2013), attitude towards health and community practices influence the way people make use of healthcare facilities.

Factors that influence how people receive healthcare services in Africa vary from community to community and country to country. Consequently, they yield varying results and the spread of different types of diseases. Some of the observable factors include

Religious beliefs: moral issues, religious practices, and beliefs affect health significantly. Commonly, in cases where a victim suffers from a serious illness, it is attributed to the wrath of gods. Indeed, it is not uncommon to hear of the anger of ancestral spirits. African religion incorporates ancestral spirits as a central element in its practice. These spirits are closely knit with people's lives. Many African communities hold that all living things are harmoniously connected with the spirits and the gods. In that relationship, there is ascribed special force that each of them generates.

When there is perfect harmony with the environment; spirits and the gods, a state of peace is experienced. These are staunch beliefs held by African Traditional Religion adherents. It is also a belief that is shared among Muslims and Christians alike. Misfortune and even ill-health, that defies modern medicine are believed to be spiritual forces controlled by sorcerers, wizards and witches; or simply as manifestations of the ancestors' wrath on the society.

Indeed, according to African belief, one does not simply just fall…

Sources Used in Documents:


Asu, O. T., Gever, I. D., & Joshua, N. P. (2013). African Cultural Practices and Health Implications for Nigeria. International Review of Management and Business Research, Vol 2, Issue 1, 176-183. Retrieved from

Artiga, S. (2016, August 12). Disparities in Health and Health Care: Five Key Questions and Answers. Retrieved September 7, 2016, from Kaiser Family Foundation:

Encyclopedia Britannica. (2016). Social Status. Retrieved September 7, 2016, from Encyclopedia Britannica:

Mhame, P. P., Busia, K., & Kasilo, O. M. J. (2010). Clinical practices of African traditional medicine. African Health Monitor, Vol 13. Retrieved from African Health Observatory:

Cite this Document:

"Culture On Health Disparities And Health Related Practices" (2016, September 26) Retrieved September 18, 2021, from

"Culture On Health Disparities And Health Related Practices" 26 September 2016. Web.18 September. 2021. <>

"Culture On Health Disparities And Health Related Practices", 26 September 2016, Accessed.18 September. 2021,

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