Traditional Medicine

I come from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and in my country, medicine is split into two categories, modern medicine and traditional one. 80 years ago, people in my country did not have access to quality healthcare options so they resorted to more traditional methods used by their grandfathers and ancestors. the average lifespan of a Saudi citizen in the 30’s and 40’s was 59, now and due to new technology being introduced, its 79. that is a huge leap caused by the introduction of western doctors, and western medical technology that helped enhance the quality of life for Saudis.

My aunt Samia, has always been nicknamed “Shannon” for some reason, when I asked her why people call her that, she said that is the name of the nurse that supervised her birth back in 1950. it was so unusual for people to see a nurse at the time to the extent that she was actually nicknamed after her!

mortality and death at birth rate were much much higher back then. the introduction of western  methods was something great right ? well, yes, for the people. but for those “traditional doctors” whose livelihood depended on curing people? not so much.

that is a normal thing, but what I believe is abnormal, is that traditional medics still thrive on the backs of the ignorant and poor back home! their products often include strange mixes (mostly fluid herbals) and different traditional drinks and foods that are made especially to cure a certain illness. these traditional medics are in a forever cat and mouse chase with the official Saudi Ministry of Health. they still thrive because some people refute anything western. they also have an advantage of widespread and traditionally held beliefs that some people refuse to give up. mostly in rural areas and outskirts of cities, they always have special remedies and cures from cancer to the flu.

that being said, itsrn02_071811_pg15_art easy to understand the value of traditional medicine to some people, especially people who come from different ethnic backgrounds.  but what is unique about the Saudi case, is that, when you buy a bottle of cinnamon-honey-oil-saffron to cure your cold, it will often contain a sticker that says (Read upon) meaning that the seller prayed upon the medication with special Islamic prayers to insure you are remedied from whatever ills you. to put it plain and simple, ignorance and false beliefs are profiting in societies were medical culture has yet to catch up with the times.

 

 

Sources:

1- https://www.chathamhouse.org/event/saudi-arabia-s-regional-foreign-policy-priorities

2- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3439740/

1 thought on “Traditional Medicine

  1. Kateryna Okhrimchuk

    Yousef,
    My parents grew up during the Soviet Union, a time when medicine wasn’t necessarily available to people either, and if it was it was extremely expensive. That being said, weird traditional remedies are still a staple in my home because it’s what my great grandparents, grandparents, and parents used – and they claim that they work. Just last week when I went home for the weekend because I had bronchitis, my mom covered my chest in rum and honey, and then put boiled cabbage leaves on top, all wrapped up in a bandage to finish it off (and it definitely is as gross as it sounds). I stopped protesting a long time ago because I know that it’s hopeless, but I think it’s so funny that parents will stick to their old ways even though Vick’s VapoRub would’ve done the trick. This is kind of like what the guest speaker said today about his parents and Christianity; although science is available and provides other alternative explanations, they still stick to what they know because it’s always what they believed in.

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