South African Culture and beliefsHow this theme "medical anthropology" impacts on a specific culture or co-culture?

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marbar57 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In layman's terms, Medical Anthropology is a system of studying health and disease indigent to a region, country, or race of people, finding ways to overcome the disease through improved sanitation, diet, and education, setting up clinics and hospitals equipped with medical staff to treat the local population, and teaching people how better to live in and adapt to their environments. 

Medical anthropology is basically what the organization "Doctors Without Borders" is attempting to accomplish in third-world countries today.  Doctors from around the world volunteer their time and talents to go into underdeveloped countries, often at risk to their own health and safety, to help people who are in need.  They bring food and supplies, perform surgeries, educate and instruct, train and teach . . . all in an effort to help eradicate the superstition, ignorance, and prejudice that prevails and leads people to live the lives that they do.   

We all know that Anthropology is the study of humans, their physical traits, how and why they interact with each other the way they do, their history, how their environment has affected and influenced them, and their impact on the world.  I think that's why anthropologists have flocked to Africa for years.  South Africa itself is unique in that there are cultures and subcultures that are hundreds, perhaps thousands of years old, and the people's way of life is deeply imbedded in them.   Sometimes a culture's way of life is actually detrimental to their quality of life. 

Perhaps through the field of Medical Anthropology, underdeveloped and third-world countries can improve their way of life for the better!  Perhaps the whole world can benefit from it!