Even though medical science and technology have made great progress in this century, the majority of the world’s population have received little benefit from it. Undernutrition and stunting of growth affect more than half the rural children; a quarter of the children in some communities die in their first year and a variety of communicable diseases are part of everyday life. It is estimated that more than three-quarters of the rural dwellers have little or no contact with health technology. Fatalism and a feeling of hopelessness are common amongst most peasant societies. In a rural area in North India, it was found that most of the morbidity was due to simple illnesses, but only 10% made use of modern health services (figure 38.1). A similar study in Nepal also showed that western scientific medicine contributed very little to health care in that country (table 38.1).
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