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Ann Agric Environ Med. 2015;22(2):385-9. doi: 10.5604/12321966.1152099.

Critical Medical Anthropology--a voice for just and equitable healthcare.

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Institute of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań, Poland.


The article presents a paradigm current in contemporary medical anthropology - Critical Medical Anthropology (CMA), which merges political-economic approaches with a culturally sensitive analysis of human behaviour grounded in anthropological methods. It is characterized by a strongly applied orientation and a devotion to improving population health and promoting health equity. The beginning of CMA dates back to the 1970s when the interdisciplinary movement called the political economy of health was developed. Today, CMA has grown into one of three major perspectives used in anthropological research devoted to health, illness and wellbeing. The author discusses the origins, key concepts and CMA's usefulness for social research, and its significance for the design of effective policies in the realm of public health. Examplary interventions and ethnographic researches are introduced and wider usage is advocated of such works and methods by bureaucrats and medical staff for understanding the patients' behavior, and the influence of social, economic and political factors on the workings of particular health systems.

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