This book written by Professor Dr. Profulla C. Sarker is thought about dimensions of health and quality of life. Currently he is the Vice Chancellor of Royal University of Dhaka. This book is written based on empirical research which is divided into sixteen chapters of 272 pages. All of these chapters excepting the first one are independent scientific papers that were presented by author in different international seminars, conferences, congresses, and symposia across the world. This book is a compilation of those papers related to health, diseases and treatment system in different perspectives. This book is appropriately designed to inspire readers to gain knowledge about the main issues concerned with the etiology of diseases and treatment system which are related to culture in terms of customs, beliefs and value systems. This volume identified issues and consequences of different dimensions of health viz. physical health, mental health, emotional health, intellectual health, social health, spiritual health and environmental health and their network relationship. The etiology of diseases and their impact on health and treatment system have been examined in cross-cultural perspective. The etiology of diseases and their impact on treatment system are associated with culture, social structure, ecology, environment and economic condition of the people in which they born, brought up and live. The socio-cultural parameters of health and disease have been discussed in this volume in connection with immunization and its impact on maternal and child health, consanguinity and its impact on reproductive health in inbred communities, incurable disease lathyrism and rehabilitation of the victims, rain water harvesting to prevent arsenicosis, perceived stress of arsenic patients and get relief through interaction in kinship network system, promotion of water and sanitation program through Village Development Committees (VDCs) among the disadvantaged people, infertility and the methods used for treatment in cross-cultural perspective, ethno-medicine applied for health care among the indigenous people, socio-cultural parameters of teen age marriage and its impact on early motherhood which affects maternal and child health, gender inequality, sex trade and probability of HIV/AIDS, physical abuse of the working children and its impact on child health, spousal pluralism, coital interaction and probability of HIV/AIDS, food insecurity and nutritional status of the women and children. The last chapter of this volume reveals the teasing against girls and its impact on mental health which encourages committing suicide in many cases.
Professor P.C. Sarker has tried to establish the concept of health and diseases related to biological, socio-economic and cultural factors linked with the convergence of interest of medical and cultural anthropology and sociology. According to him the socio-cultural parameters of health and diseases consist of those cultural practices, methods, techniques and substances, embedded in a matrix of values, traditions, beliefs, and pattern of ecological adaptation that provide the means of maintaining health and preventing or ameliorating disease and injury in its members. Professor Sarker pointed in his book that a society’s health care practices depends upon its organisational system, social structure, technologies, and personnel that enable it to provide and maintain and to change its medicine and method of treatment in response to varying intra-cultural and extra-cultural challenge. Under the circumstances, interdisciplinary interest has to be developed between the physicians and the social scientists because the health and diseases are not only related to biological factor, but also to people’s cultural resources, economic ability and psycho-social behaviour.Socio-cultural parameters of health and diseases covers in general such wide-ranging subjects as Public Health, Community Medicine, Anthropology, Sociology, Social Work, Health Economics, Development Studies, and in particular touches on disciplines of Medical Science, Medical Anthropology, Sociology of Medicine and Public Health. While the book is architecturally well-designed with models, diagrams, graphs, references in individual chapter and very informative, some of the important topics, which could have been expanded further, thus elucidating vital concepts with practical examples, have been kept to a minimum, probably with the objective of keeping the volume agreeable to a majority of readers. I do believe the author will address such concerns and appropriately revise the text in the next edition. Despite this minor shortcoming, the book will be a complete guide for those who are devoted to doing research, particularly those focused on Medical Science, Public Health, and Social Sciences particularly in Medical Anthropology, Health Economics and Sociology of Medicine and students doing research for advanced studies.
Reviewed by Dr. Chinmoy Kanti Das, Professor, Department of Community Medicine, Rajshahi Medical College