Native American Health Belief to accessing Medical Care

There is an increasing awareness that several populations are underserved in the US health system, mainly Native Americans (NA). While health care is a legal right to all federally recognized Tribes, they still suffer disparities in health status and service access, as illustrated by higher illness rates, substance use, and mental distress. Health belief is one major factor affecting Native Americans’ access to hospitals and medical care. Notably, the system belief influences how causes, symptoms, and cures for illnesses are interpreted (Al-Noumani et al., 2019). The extent to which a patient perceives their healthcare belief as culturally relevant can influence their perception of the information offered and the willingness to apply it.


Native Americans have an impaired comprehension of healthcare due to their limited fluency in English and hence find it essential to use tribal languages. The cultural beliefs influence how these NA think and feel about their health and health challenges, response, interventions, and treatment adherence. According to the NA group, medical preparation depends on its interconnection to spiritual welfare and life (Zegarra et al., 2019). Preparation is informed by various factors, including religion, culture, and available healing practices.

Given their unfamiliarity with western health practices, Native Americans, who are spiritually oriented, consider traditional healers and folk medicine as the best medical care. NA has a high degree of integration between their religious belief and health. Healing is inseparable from culture, religion, and social behaviours. Administration of medical care is not a mere activity rather one integrated with spiritual and life concepts. Health, according to NA, is not a disease absent relative harmony with oneself, including body, mind, spirit, harmony with others, and the surrounding (Isaac et al., 2018). Well-being originates from harmony with nature and the universe, and illness is a symptom of disregard to harmony.

Healing is sacred, with the recommended NA health administration being prayers, gathering, and using traditional herbs and care by conventional medicine practitioners (Zegarra et al., 2019). Conventional healthcare providers are entrusted with healing administration. Those with the gift of healing are obliged to heal. While the federal government considers the practice of traditional healing as complementary or alternative medicine, the NA believes their medicine administration is primary, necessary, and sacred.

Many of the administered herbal, folk, or traditional prescriptions are unsafe. If the wrong medicine is constantly used, it can lead to critical health damages or death. Studies indicate NA these medical administrations can cause kidney failures liver damage, and a NA lives 4 years less than the typical American does (Zegarra et al., 2019). Heath authorities in advanced nations such as the US are responsible for monitoring medicine quality and detecting harmful effects. The traditional healthcare providers may lack the capacity to monitor many indigenous health plants, mineral-based medicines, and spiritual therapies. Many treatment and related products are introduced in the market devoid of mandatory safety or topological evaluation.

The medication regimen for the NA demands proper drug administrations and follow-up. Non-expert advice is a significant barrier to medication regimens. Poor adherence increases the risk of complications, health care costs, and death. While the traditional healers have their place as complementary health providers, their disregard for evidence-based care and overreliance on uninformed decisions endanger Native Americans’ lives (Isaac et al., 2018). The non-expert healers require ongoing education on advanced medical practices and understand their role as complementary healthcare rather than primary providers.

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Zegarra-Parodi, R., Draper-Rodi, J., Haxton, J., & Cerritelli, F. (2019). The Native American heritage of the body-mind-spirit paradigm in osteopathic principles and practices. International Journal of Osteopathic Medicine33, 31-37.

Al-Noumani, H., Wu, J. R., Barksdale, D., Sherwood, G., Alkhasawneh, E., & Knafl, G. (2019). Health beliefs and medication adherence in patients with hypertension: a systematic review of quantitative studies. Patient education and counselling102(6), 1045-1056.