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Care providers’ needs and perspectives on suffering and care in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Cambodia

Author(s): Laura McDonald | Richard F. Mollica | Susan Douglas Kelley | Svang Tor | Majda Halilovic

Journal: Acta Medica Academica
ISSN 1840-1848

Volume: 41;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 186;
Date: 2012;
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Keywords: Traditional healing | Mental health | Psychosocial assistance | Poverty | Violence

This exploratory study aimed to obtain insight into field-level care providers’ views on suffering and healing as well as existing obstacles and needs related to providing care to their clients. This research provides a “snapshot” for a better understanding of existing care systems in two post-conflict settings. By identifying existing approaches to care and the needs of the care provider community, this research might be useful in guiding psychosocial assistance programming in post-conflict settings. Utilizing a semi-structured questionnaire, 45 care providers were interviewed, including local health care practitioners, traditional/spiritual healers, and humanitarian relief workers, in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Cambodia. This study found that the majority of care providers in both settings perceived poverty and violence as significant causes and consequences of human suffering and, at the same time, felt ill-equipped in addressing these issues and related problems. Other issues that hindered these healers in providing care included: limited government/institutional support; lack of training; materialresources and funding. Study findings point to a new framework fordeveloping effective interventions and the need for further emphasison supporting care providers in their work, and most specifically, inidentifying and responding to poverty and violence.
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