Approaches to Muslim Women’s Health Care: implications for the development of culturally-sensitive medicine
AbstractThis study’s objective was a review updating the literature concerning Muslim women and their health care. To this end, a bibliographic search was conducted in the following databases: Web of Science, Pub Med, Lilacs, Sociological Abstracts, Scopus and Social Sciences, Full Text of articles written in English, Spanish and Portuguese, published since 2000. Twenty-nine articles were obtained for the study, which were divided into two categories: 1 - "original articles" and essays, 2 - theoretical papers that reflect the thought process on the subject. A scarcity of studies on the subject was detected. In the publications reviewed, a unanimous conclusion was a lack of knowledge of Islamic culture which acted as an impediment in Muslim women’s health care in the West. Key aspects related to: eye contact, shaking hands, the female's garb that conceals the face and body and the care given to females by male professionals. The language barrier, for those living in non-Islamic Western countries and the need to consult a medical expert other than to the family doctor in their home countries were other important factors. Women were observed to seek advice from family, friends and religious leaders on issues of a simpler nature. Discrimination and prejudice can occur in hospital care or even at doctor´s offices, suggesting a lack of understanding of Islamic culture. Inclusion of suitable information in the graduate curriculum and other forms of knowledge teaching is suggested, with the aim of developing effective approaches to transcultural and religiously sensitive medical practices.
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