Questions-Answers: “Death without Weeping” by Scheper-Hughes

1. According to Nancy Scheper-Hughes' article "Death without Weeping," explain why women in Bom Jesus, Brazil don't generally grieve outwardly when their children die. What are some of the structural factors that constrain options for health care in that population?

The main reason why women in Bom Jesus, Brazil do not get grieved outwards when their children die refers to that they are unable to control the forces causing death. Being unable to control them, women are not able to tell symptoms that may foretell deaths. Furthermore, Scheper-Hughes argues that not being able to weep is a way of survival among these women and also a way of showing bonds between them and the babies who had survived death and continued growing as strong children.

Scheper-Hughes presents some structural factors that constraint option for health care in the population. The first factor refers to the shanty township. The writer reveals that environmental conditions of the town make it difficult for the lower class population to get necessary medical facilities, and only the strong can survive the living conditions. In addition, the writer acknowledges the presence of cultural beliefs that oppress accessibility of modern healthcare. These cultural practices promote oppression and neglect of the lower class who are the majority of the population.

2. In the clip on Ecuador, how do Andean people define health? How do traditional healers and Western doctors approach medical issues differently? Why do you think it is important to include traditional medical practices in delivering health care to rural areas of Ecuador?

In the video, Andean people define health as the absence of diseases and living in harmony with different human activities and the environments. This approach is different from the western view because they do not put into consideration issues such as prevention methods as a means of avoiding diseases. Besides, the methods of healing differ from the western approach in that the traditional healers use mostly herbs and conventional medicine to treat patients. Conversely, the western population use tablets and syrups to treat diagnosed conditions.

It is important to include the traditional medical practices in delivering healthcare services in the rural areas because medicines are available for low prices, and almost everybody can afford them. Moreover, the traditional medical practice does not require training or a specialized expertise to deliver making it more accessible among the illiterate dwellers of the rural areas.

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