Historical and cultural aspects of the provision of care at an indigenous healthcare service facility

Aridiane Alves Ribeiro Cássia Irene Spinelli Arantes Dulce Maria Rosa Gualda Lídia Aparecida Rossi About the authors

Abstract

This case study aimed to interpret the underlying historical and cultural aspects of the provision of care at an indigenous healthcare service facility. This is an interpretive, case study-type research with qualitative approach, which was conducted in 2012 at the Indigenous Health Support Center (CASAI) of the State of Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil. Data were collected by means systematic observation, documentary analyses and semi-structured interviews with ten health professionals. Data review was performed according to an approach based on social anthropology and health anthropology. The anthropological concepts of social code and ethnocentrism underpinned the interpretation of outcomes. Two categories were identified: CASAI, a space between streets and village; Ethnocentrism and indigenous health care. Healthcare practice and current social code are influenced by each other. The street social code prevails in the social environment under study. The institutional organization and professionals’ appreciation of the indigenous biological body are decisive to provision of care under the streets social code perspective. Professionals’ concepts evidence ethnocentrism in healthcare. Workers, however, try to adopt a relativized view vis-à-vis indigenous people at CASAI.

Healthcare; Indigenous health; Social code; Ethnocentrism

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