Best Practices in Intercultural Health
This paper presents some of the background research that contributed to the discussions within the Inter-American Development Bank's policy and strategy regarding indigenous health issues. The paper's conceptual approach and good practice research helped focus the discussion on the importance of intercultural health practices to promote indigenous peoples' access to allopathic health as well as to strengthen those traditional health practices based on indigenous peoples' own knowledge, culture, social networks, institutions and ways of life, that have shown their effectiveness. The paper presents five intercultural health experiences (in Suriname, Guatemala, Chile, Ecuador and Colombia) that are considered best practices in the field. Although poorly financed, these experiences highlight the significance to indigenous peoples of health models that bridge the gap between state-financed allopathic health services and their own indigenous health systems. This study however, does not represent a medical trial on the efficacy or efficiency of intercultural health models.