Concept of Health, Ill and Treatment



The World Health Organisation (WHO) has defined health as a 'state of complete
physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or
infirmity' (WHO; 1997). Such a definition could be seen as keeping with what has
already been r ecoyised i n the traditional Indian medicine viz. that physical wellbeing alone cannot ensure good health. However, medicine, as it comes to be
practiced i n modem times, laid an emphasis on curing illness, and often overlooked
the psychological aspect and social dimension of health.
The concept of health, disease and treatment vary according to the culture of a
particular area. Moreover, a particular culture of' tribal area is guided by the
traditionally laid-down customs and each member of'the culture is ideally expected
to confbrm to it.

Disease and health are universal experiences, which are as old as human is. As our
primitive ancestors evolved i n to human forms, so were the disease they brought
with them and those they acquired during the evolution became social and cultural
facts as well as patholoccal states. For human being i n a given set up, disease
threatens not only one's state of well-being and that of other people i n the group,
but also it threatens, the very integrity of the community as a whole. Disease
according to modem science is only a departure from a state of health and more
frequently, a kind of disturbance i n the health of lbody to which any particular case
of sickness attributed.

Events like death and occurrence of the disease lead to heavy expenses and adverse
psychological effects. I n every culture there is a repository of values and belief
systems built around important life experiences, viz. birth, illness, death and disease
reduces the strength of the people to hunt or gather food, to a b~iculture nd all other
vital occupational and necessary activities. Chief priest, shaman, ojha, sorcerer and
the traditional medical...