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September 04 , 2010

Privatization and the New Medical Pluralism

Shifting Healthcare Landscapes in Maya Guatemala


Privatization and the New Medical Pluralism is the first collection of its kind to explore the contemporary terrain of healthcare in Guatemala through reflective ethnography. This volume offers a nuanced portrait of the effects of healthcare privatization for indigenous Maya people, who have historically endured numerous disparities in health and healthcare access. The collection provides an updated understanding of medical pluralism, which concerns not only the tensions and exchanges between ethnomedicine and biomedicine that have historically shaped Maya people’s experiences of health, but also the multiple competing biomedical institutions that have emerged in a highly privatized, market-driven environment of care. The contributors examine the macro-structural and micro-level implications of the proliferation of non-governmental organizations, private fee-for-service clinics, and new pharmaceuticals against the backdrop of a deteriorating public health system. In this environment, health seekers encounter new challenges and opportunities, relationships between the public, private, and civil sectors transform, and new forms of inequality in access to healthcare abound. This volume connects these themes to critical studies of global and public health, exposing the strictures and apertures of healthcare privatization for marginalized populations in Guatemala.
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