Publication Date

Spring 2018

Program Name

Peru: Indigenous Peoples and Globalization

Abstract

An estimated 49% of the indigenous population of Latin America has migrated to cities in the past 50 years. In Peru, over 600,000 native Quechua speakers migrated to cities due solely to the terrorist conflicts of the 1980s. Many of these immigrants came from small towns with little to no infrastructure in terms of roads, schools, and hospitals or access to western biomedicine. In this study, semi-formal qualitative interviews were used to investigate whether migration from a small rural community to a city, specifically among the Queros people of Southern Peru, affected the use of traditional medicine and biomedicine. A combination of men and women who had migrated from small Queros communities to the city of Cusco and had been living in the city for varying lengths of time were interviewed, as well as a Queros shaman/healer and a doctor at the medical post of Santa Rosa, to which the interviewees were assigned through their public health insurance. The prevailing trend among the immigrants was that they would first try to cure themselves with traditionals medicinal plants and offerings to the earth, which was their only medical recourse in the rural communities, but in the city would then usually go directly to a pharmacy to buy pills rather than visiting a doctor.

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Durante los últimos cincuenta años, un estimado 49% de la poblacion indigena en Latinoamérica ha migrado a las ciudades. En Perú, más que 600,000 personas Quechua-hablantes se mudaron a las ciudades solo por causa de los conflictos terroristas de los años 1980. Muchos de estos inmigrantes vienen de pueblos pequeños con muy poca infraestructura en términos de carreteras, escuelas, y acceso a la biomedicina occidental. En este estudio, entrevistas semi-formales cualitativas fueron conducidas para investigar si migración desde una comunidad rural pequeña a una ciudad, específicamente en la gente Queros del sur del Perú, afecta al uso de la medicina tradicional y la biomedicina. Una combinación de hombres y mujeres quienes habían migrado desde comunidades Queros pequeños a la ciudad de Cusco y habían estado varios periodos de tiempo en la ciudad fueron entrevistados, en conjunto con un chaman/curandero Queros y un doctor de la posta medica de Santa Rosa, a la cual pertenecían los entrevistados por su seguro médico público. La tendencia predominante entre los inmigrantes era que primero intentarían curarse con plantas medicinales tradicionales, lo cual era su único recurso en las comunidades rurales, pero en la ciudad irían después directo a una farmacia para comprar pastillas en vez de ir a un doctor.

Disciplines

Alternative and Complementary Medicine | Community-Based Research | Family, Life Course, and Society | Medicine and Health | Place and Environment

 

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