Role of culture - Migrants
Role of culture
In the Netherlands migrants are confronted with different views about freedom and manners, but also about illness and health. Psychological complaints are sensitive, certainly discussing them outside the family. In the next frame we give some examples, which obviously do not apply to all migrants. Moreover, some examples also apply to some of the low-literate people who grew up in the Netherlands.
In the country of origin, healthcare is often organized differently, without the functions we know in the Netherlands, such as: general practitioner, obstetrician, practice assistant, dentist, pharmacist and doctor's assistant. Low-skilled migrants often have limited knowledge of the human body, health and disease.
Possible views of migrants about illness and health
Ill or not sick?
Illness is understood as: having complaints, being troubled by something. When someone has no complaints, it is difficult to understand that he is ill. In hypertension, well regulated diabetes or asthma you can think that there is no problem and that medication is not necessary. Preventive research such as population screening can therefore also be difficult to understand.
In many non-western countries, being fat is seen as a sign of wealth. Being slim is also not the beauty ideal everywhere.
Food and drink
Offering food and drink is testimony to hospitality. It is rude to turn that off. Illness weakens you. To strengthen, you must eat and drink properly.
Fever is serious
Many migrants regard fever as a sign of a disease that can go seriously and lead to death. Infectious diseases and dehydration in fever and diarrhea are common in some countries of origin.
Blood carries strength
In many non-western countries, blood is seen as a source of strength. Blood loss and blood collection also mean weakening, even if that is not a lot of blood. A statement like: 'the blood is not good' can be understood as something very serious, while sometimes it is meant that some blood values are abnormal.
Diseases or disabilities are sometimes seen as a punishment from God, or as a result of disrupting spirits.
Body and soul
The separation of Western culture between body and mind does not know many migrants. Conversely, they often do not recognize that you can have physical sensations due to anxiety and stress, such as palpitations, sweat attacks or headaches. They do not relate the symptoms and a (threatening) situation or stress. A physical cause is often sought for the symptoms.
In many cultures, it is a custom or moral obligation to visit people who are ill. And as a sick person you should receive that visit.
Possible views of migrants about care
Many migrants have the idea that disease should be treated. That diseases often pass automatically is difficult to accept. Infections must be treated with antibiotics. That people sometimes do not heal faster, is difficult to understand. Many people who grew up in the Netherlands share this view. When they also do not know that there is a difference between bacteria and viruses, the Dutch approach is incomprehensible. The patient may feel that he is not receiving proper care. Incidentally, non-migrants sometimes do not understand the approach and can also have that feeling.
Many people think that treatment by a specialist, in a hospital, is better than by a general practitioner. Injections are considered to be more potent medications than tablets. A paracetamol tablet is considered to be a 'sweetener' or as a means of being shipped off.
Take care of your (clean) parents
In many cultures it is just that daughters and daughters-in-law take care of their (clean) parents. That is also expected of them. This has great value, but it can also put pressure on those who provide this informal care. Having an older family member go to a care or nursing home goes against the norm and can therefore call up negative reactions from other family members and people from the area. This increases the pressure on the informal carer.