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Impact of Traditional Cultural Values on Acceptance of Health Care Systems among the Santhals of Orissa

*Research Scholar, Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Mumbai, India
The World Health Organisation defines health as, “a state of complete physical, mental
and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease and infirmity” (WHO, 1971).
It is also asserted that health may be seen as a state of dynamic equilibrium between an
organism and its environment. Good health corresponds to dynamic stability, normal
function and homeostatic control. Ill health corresponds to a state of instability, loss of
function and failure of self-regulation. But the perception about health, disease and health
seeking behaviour are not the same across culture. It varies from culture to culture as an
integral part of human ecology and cultural ways. Human cultures as a part of their
cognitive development have complex ideas regarding causes of sickness and ways of
cures. This is the base of empirical medical systems that provide means for prevention
and cure. This knowledge of prevention and cure of sickness is passed on from
generation to generation. Medicine is a part of culture and like any other aspect of
culture; it has an element of unrecognized inner rationale, and is influenced by nonmedical
cultural phenomena in number of ways. There is considerable body of literature
on health seeking behaviour among primitive societies and folk or peasant cultures.


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