Diabetes in Mexico: Cultural Beliefs and Management in an Urban Setting
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This thesis explores the cultural beliefs and illness management practices of thirty diabetic patients who receive care at a Centro de Salud in Mazatlán, Sinaloa, Mexico. This is done through an International Studies and Medical Anthropology lens – one that is interdisciplinary and bridges theory and practice. Analysis of thirty semi-structured interviews with diabetic patients and semi-structured interviews with five staff members, conducted over ten weeks, contributes to our understanding of the tensions that arise between recommended illness management practices and the actual practices of patients. Explanatory Models of patients reveal beliefs that are rooted in biomedical and traditional Mexican cultural beliefs, while staffs perspectives are primarily rooted in biomedical beliefs. Recommendations are made for staff providing primary care, including the acknowledgement and incorporation of patients’ perspectives into care plans. Recommendations are also made for system level improvements to be implemented by the Mexican federal government.