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Inuit health and the health care system: Change and status quo

Inuit health and the health care system: Change and status quo
Pages: 7 - 16
Auteur(s) / Author(s): George W. Wenzel
Résumé:

Depuis trente ans, le changement a affecté à peu près tous les aspects de la vie des Inuit canadiens. Si la plupart des changements ont pris origine à l'extérieur, un certain nombre furent liés à des formes particulières de la technologie ou de la bureaucratie sur lesquelles les Inuit ont pu agir. D'autres types d'innovation - comme le système de santé -, de nature plus spécialisée, reproduisent les modèles opérationnels définis dans le cadre des institutions anglo-canadiennes. Ce texte tente de décrire deux approches du système de santé dans le nord. Le premier modèle, que nous appellerons de rupture, s'enracine dans la pratique médicale occidentale et se caractérise par sa façon de diagnostiquer et de traiter les symptômes physiques comme des problèmes séparés de l'environnement social et naturel du patient. Le second modèle, proprement inuit, envisage la maladie comme un prolongement des effets de cet environnement et l'interprète donc comme en continuité plutôt qu'en rupture avec celui-ci. Il ne s'agit pas ici de décrire les formes de la médecine inuit ni l'implantation du système de soins contemporain, mais d'analyser les conflits de valeurs existant entre ces deux modèles.

 

Abstract:

During the past three decades, Canadian Inuit have undergone a series of changes effecting virtually every aspect of their lives. While most of these changes have been initiated by outside sources, many have been associated with specific technological forms or bureaucratic structures which Inuit have had some success in modifying. Others, however, like the health care system which has emerged, remain, because of their specialized nature, to reflect operational models developed within the framework of Anglo-Canadian institutions. The purpose of this paper is to examine two approaches to health care in the North. The first, or discontinuous model, is rooted in Western medical praxis in which emphasis is placed on diagnosing and treating physical symptoms as a problem separate from the patients social and environmental relationships. The other shall be termed the Inuit model in which physical illness is seen as extending beyond the patient with societal and environmental effects and, therefore, is interpreted here as continuous, rather than disassociative. The paper is not intended as a review of disease treatment among Inuit nor of the development of the present system of care; rather, its intention is to analyze value conflicts between the two models.