Cultural influences on health care use: two regional groups in India.Stud Fam Plann. 1990 Sep-Oct; 21(5):275-86.SF
While health care services are increasingly being seen as a major proximate determinant of decreased mortality in a population, it also seems to be the case that the mere provision of services does not lead to their better utilization. However, in general, it is difficult to explore differences in utilization because the availability of services itself varies so greatly. This report presents the results of a study in India of two distinct regional groups of similar socioeconomic status, residing in the same locality and, therefore, theoretically exposed to the same health services. Both groups share a strong faith in modern medicine (especially if it is obtained from a private practitioner) for the treatment of most common illnesses. However, important cultural differentials exist in the medical services sought for childbirth and in the treatment of morbidity in children of different ages and sexes. These cultural commonalities and differentials are described, their possible causes--primary among these being the status of women--explored, and some policy recommendations made.