Medicine: a view from the Andes

What are health, illness and healing? An EU-funded project focusing on indigenous communities in Ecuador is exploring traditional perceptions and the ways in which other cultures affect them. New insights could help inform the design of policies to support migrant or marginalised populations from traditional backgrounds.

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Countries
Countries
  Algeria
  Argentina
  Australia
  Austria
  Bangladesh
  Belarus
  Belgium
  Benin
  Bolivia
  Botswana
  Brazil
  Bulgaria
  Burkina Faso
  Cambodia
  Cameroon
  Canada
  Cape Verde
  Chile
  China
  Colombia
  Costa Rica
  Croatia
  Cyprus
  Czech Republic
  Denmark
  Ecuador
  Egypt
  Estonia
  Ethiopia
  Faroe Islands
  Finland
  France
  French Polynesia
  Gambia
  Georgia


  Infocentre

Published: 15 March 2018  
Related theme(s) and subtheme(s)
Health & life sciences
Human resources & mobilityMarie Curie Actions
Research policyHorizon 2020
Social sciences and humanities
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Medicine: a view from the Andes

Photo of Peruvian indigenous old woman

© subbotsky - fotolia.com

The EU-funded project MEDICINE is looking back to go forward: its research on traditional medicine notably involves studying archaeological and ethno-historical records. Retracing developments in the past is helping the team to work out how people’s understanding of health and their attitude to illness change as a result of traumatic exposure to other cultures – in the context of war or displacement, for example.

The project’s exploration of these aspects focuses on the example of Quechua peoples in the northern Andes, more particularly in Ecuador. Dependence on traditional forms of healing remains widespread among indigenous people in this part of the world, the researchers note.

And, generally speaking, “many Andean peoples retain substantial relicts of an ancestral belief system and understandings of the world, of the nature of illness and its manner of treatment,” they add. The project highlights the significance of traditional practices as a form of intangible cultural heritage.

While the belief systems MEDICINE is studying are steeped in history, the fresh insight it is striving to deliver has potential applications in dealing with contemporary global challenges such as migration. The researchers intend to generate a transcultural model for use with marginalised or migrant populations from traditional backgrounds, as a contribution to the design and delivery of culturally aware healthcare and related services to support them.

MEDICINE is a three-year project due to end in October 2019. It is backed by an individual fellowship grant from the EU’s Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions programme.

Project details

  • Project acronym: MEDICINE
  • Participants: United Kingdom (Coordinator)
  • Project N°: 705225
  • Total costs: € 217 708
  • EU contribution: € 217 708
  • Duration: November 2016 to October 2019

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