© 2016 Irina Vladimirovna MIKHEL
2016 – №2 (12)
Abstract: Anthropology of child health is a section of medical anthropology. The proposed training course describes the key issues of this discipline, its subject field.
The course discusses the problems of neonatal, infant, child and adolescent health, the impact of social, economic, cultural and other factors on child health. The goal of the training course is to help medical students understand the importance of interdisciplinary research in the health sector. Students are encouraged to develop the ability to view health and healthcare as phenomena integrated into a specific socio-cultural system.
The course is an overview of some of the main sections of modern medical anthropology related to the issues of child health.
During the course, students are supposed to come to an understanding of the importance of interdisciplinary research under contemporary conditions, when public health problems become a subject of comprehensive study and can be solved by joint efforts of medical science and social and humanitarian knowledge. In particular, the issues of child health are a subject of complex research of pediatricians and medical anthropologists.
As a result of this course, students will become familiar with the main methods and approaches of “anthropology of child health”, as well as get a complete idea of what data it can provide when discussing issues of child health.
Students are encouraged to develop the ability to view health and healthcare as phenomena integrated into a specific socio-cultural system.
In addition, they will learn to analyze social, economic, cultural and other factors of good and bad health, suggesting ways and means to achieve the highest possible health and well-being for children of different age groups.
STRUCTURE OF THE COURSE
The course includes lectures and seminars. The phenomenon of child health is considered with regard to two complementary perspectives – sociocultural and ontogenetic. The first perspective looks at children’s health as a condition that is largely due to the influence of the external social environment, as a “result” of social, economic, cultural, political and other processes taking place in society. The second approach views it as generated by the internal laws of the development of the child’s organism, which in turn is characterized by a series of transitions within the human life cycle: neonatal, infant, child and adolescent stages of development. The unity of these two perspectives stands behind the logic of presentation of the course and its structure.
The list of topics of the course:
– Role of anthropological knowledge in drawing a comprehensive picture of children’s health;
– Anthropological ideas on neonatal health (newborn health) in the context of sociocultural practices of care for it;
– Anthropological ideas on infant health, with a special emphasis on the issues of breastfeeding and prevention of children infectious diseases;
– Issues of child health related to nutrition and physical activity;
– Influence of surrounding social environment (parents, peers, school) on child and adolescent health;
– The issue of child abuse;
– Child and adolescent health risks, in particular related to smoking, alcohol and drug consumption, aggressive behavior and violence;
– Reproductive health issues of children;
– Issues of child mental health, primarily issues of ADHD, depression and suicide.
During the course, students will be required to read two types of literature: official documents of international organizations dealing with health and childhood issues (WHO, UNICEF, etc.), as well as scientific articles of medical anthropologists – both classical and modern.
At the end of the course, students take the test.
This article is currently available only in Russian