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Cadernos de Saúde Pública

Print version ISSN 0102-311X

Abstract

DUARTE GOMEZ, María Beatriz. Western medicine and alternative medicines: can they be complementary? Conceptual reflections. Cad. Saúde Pública [online]. 2003, vol.19, n.2, pp. 635-643. ISSN 0102-311X.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0102-311X2003000200030.

The present article is part of a series of reflections from an intercultural approach to health systems and corresponding public policies, motivated by findings from a study on two intercultural hospitals in rural Mexico. The frequent utilization of complementary and alternative medicines by the local population and the hegemonic health model that excludes them make the existing health system an unsatisfactory response to people's needs. We present the concept of complementariness as a health system component and propose priorities on this issue, taking different approaches: complementariness as a public policy, as an institutional project, or as an individual decision by the therapist or patient.

Keywords : Complementary Therapies; Therapeutics; Health System.

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