chapter  14
The Anthropologist and Primary Health Care
WithDorothy S. Mull, J. Dennis Mull
Pages 21

In this chapter, the authors attempt to illuminate the basic challenges involved and suggests that possible solutions that follow from their own experiences while working and doing research in Mexico, Pakistan, Viet Nam, and Saudi Arabia. Anthropologists working in international health should and indeed must keep consequent pressures in mind, attempting to understand the “culture of governments” and the “culture of the international agency” with the same energy they would devote to the study of any other of the world’s societies. Anthropologists in primary health care can satisfy their residual impulses toward subtlety and depth by publishing articles for their peers in the social science journals, and many do. Agencies typically value highly focused investigations, speed, and quantifiable results, while the fundamental tenets of classical anthropology are holism, maximum attention to cultural contexts, and an emphasis on descriptive research methods. Bonding with non-anthropologists may be a necessity in view of the shortage of locally trained anthropologists in the developing world.