Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry

, Volume 7, Issue 2, pp 131-151

First online:

Parallel structures in professional and folk health care: A model applied to rural Hati

  • Jeannine CoreilAffiliated withDepartment of Preventive Medicine and Community Health, The University of Texas Medical Branch

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The paper argues that professional and folk sectors of pluralistic health care systems share certain structural features that in some respects have equal or greater importance than obvious differences. A model based on the concepts of primary, secondary and tertiary care is adapted to an analysis of both folk and professional domains of the rural Haitian health care system. Ethnographic and survey data are presented to support the position that underlying similarities are evident in patterns of cost, accessibility, specialization, recruitment and training of practitioners in both health sectors. The level of care model provides an analytic framework which gives proper attention to diversity in traditional healing, which is applicable to other health care systems, and which has relevance for the development of primary care resources in developing areas.