Part Two: Patterns of Resort in the Use of Therapy Systems and Their Significance for Health Planning in South Asia

Mark Nichter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


It is generally recognized that indigenous medical practitioners play an important role in providing health care to rural villagers in developing countries. However, not much is known about the extent to which these practitioners continue to be utilized when modern sources of medical aid become available. A rural Primary Health Center zone in South India which is served by a variety of traditional, eclectic, and modern medical practitioners was selected for study. Attention was focused on patterns of resort in the selection of medical aid for a variety of illnesses. It is pointed out that although allopathy is immensely popular in rural India, many types of illness are initially brought to indigenous practitioners. The patterns of resort cited are of regional importance. On the basis of this pilot study, it is suggested that, in addition to studies of availability and access to different types of medical practitioners, studies on resort patterns be carried out throughout India to more completely assess the role of indigenous medical personnel. Such studies will provide critical information to health care planners who are endeavoring to coordinate the activities of India's multiple therapy systems and maximize indigenous resources and manpower. Moreover, these studies will provide essential data upon which training programs for indigenous practitioners and referral networks can be organized. The anthropologist's contribution to the field of health planning is emphasized.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)29-56
Number of pages28
JournalMedical anthropology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1978

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Anthropology


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