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Health beliefs and practices among Slovenian Roma and their response to febrile illnesses
Danica Rotar-Pavlič, Erika Zelko, Janko Kersnik, Verica Lolič, 2011, original scientific article

Abstract: Introduction: When the Roma fell ill in the past, they used herbal home remedies to treat diseases. If the remedy failed to cure the illness, they called the local healer. Today, most Roma visit physicians. This study investigates health beliefs and practices held by the Roma people in Slovenia and their response to febrile illnesses. Methods: Field interviews using a semi-structured questionnaire were conducted in the vicinity of Kočevje. Sociodemographic data were gathered and recorded manually, and the interviews were tape recorded. Qualitative analysis was performed by three researchers. Special attention was paid to data validation. Results: The majority of Roma are not acquainted with thermometers and therefore do not use them. About onethird of the interviewees knew what the normal body temperature should be. Only 15% of the Roma population take their body temperature when they are feeling unwell. One-half visit their physicians. More than half of the population take paracetamol or aspirin when they feel feverish. More often, they resort to tea and emphasize the healing effect of sweating. Conclusion: The Roma beliefs and practices regarding health and fever are instructive and show how impoverished a narrow biomedical approach can be. Failure to use technical devices, such as thermometers, and lack of familiarity with the numerical values defining the border between normal and elevated body temperature, nonetheless do not mean that the Roma take inappropriate measuresin response to illness. Illnesses (including fever) can also be recognized without these tools and can be appropriately responded to by drinking teas, using compresses, and taking fever-reducing medications.
Keywords: Roma, illness, thermometer, fever, activity, doctor
Published: 05.04.2017; Views: 257; Downloads: 55
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