Haiti

Like Crandon-Malamud, Brodwin (1996) conducted ethnographic research on medical pluralism at the village level, namely in the Haitian village of Jeanty (pseudonym). In addition to access to biomedicine or "metropolitan medicine," the villagers turn to various other practitioners and healing systems in their search for better health. These include herbalists, bonesetters, mid-wives, the cult of Roman Catholic saints, Voodou priests, and Pentecostal ministers. Morality and medicine are intricately intertwined in rural Haiti and pose questions of innocence or guilt. People in Jeanty debate among themselves as to which healing system they should resort to in an effort to achieve moral balance in their lives. While recognizing its value in treating certain diseases, they regard the biomedical dispensary in their village "as yet another site where local representatives of powerful outside forces provide valued resources and techniques for ordering life" (Brodwin, 1996, p. 67). For the problems of everyday life, the villagers can turn to the houngan and mambo (male and female Vodou religious healer), Catholic lay exorcists, or Pentecostal healers. Whereas Vodou and Catholicism coexist in a complementary and somewhat tense relationship, Pentecostalists tend to regard them systems as diabolic. Regardless of the healing system that the villagers employ, as Brodwin argues, each of them to address pressing moral dilemmas.

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