Integration between traditional and contemporary health care in a host nation can be beneficial to nation- and capacity-building and, subsequently, to the overall health of the society. Traditional health care in this sense refers to the indigenous health care system in the host nation, which includes characteristic religious or cultural practices, whereas contemporary health care is also known as conventional or Westernized; integration is a synchronization of these two health care forms. However, the choice of integration depends on the political and cultural situation of the nation in which the Department of Defense health care personnel are intervening. Thus, cultural awareness training is essential to ensure the success of missions related to global health and in promoting a health care system that is most beneficial to the society. The present study attempts to show the benefits of both cultural training and health care integration, and how adequately evaluating their efficacy has been problematic. The author proposes that determinants of this efficacy are better documentation collection, extensive predeployment cultural awareness and sensitivity training, and extensive after-action reports for future development.
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