Investigating the factors behind differences in ‘lay’ and ‘expert’ medical knowledge in the context of fever treatment in Yangon, Myanmar.
Reinvention journal volume 13 issue 2 cover


Social medicine
expert biomedical knowledge in fever treatment
layman beliefs in medicine
traditional Burmese medicine
capability approach


Greater social research aiming to understand the qualitative experiences of patients and healthcare workers is necessary in order to create informed health policies. A key aspect of this is acknowledging and uncovering how 'lay' and 'expert' medical knowledge interact and co-exist. This paper uses the context of fever treatment in Yangon, Myanmar, to investigate the factors behind differences between 'lay' and 'expert' medical knowledge.

This cross-sectional study conducts a deductive thematic analysis of secondary qualitative data from both patients and medical doctors using an adapted form of Amartya Sen’s capability approach framework. Results uncover how education, socially rooted collective knowledge and unregulated pharmacies drive differences between 'lay' and 'expert' medical knowledge.

The results of this paper highlight the interdisciplinary nature of health, meaning health systems should be considered within their sociological, political and economic contexts. Appreciating the complexity of how health is understood by populations can allow policymakers to form a stronger health system by creating contextualised policies and health interventions for the general public that cater to the diversity of narratives within health systems and beliefs.
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Copyright (c) 2021 Onubha Hoque Syed


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