Health and healing in contemporary Tonga

McGrath, Barbara Burns (1999) Health and healing in contemporary Tonga. Pacific Health Dialog, 6 (2). pp. 265-267.


The most striking feature of the health care system in Tonga at the end of this century Is its pluralistic flavour. It Includes more than one medical ideology and more than one system of services so that an individual has a choice of receiving care from a traditional Tongan healer (fato'o faka Tonga) who prescribes herbal Cures, sets bones, and uses therapeutic massage, or from a physician or registered nurse in the hospital or clinic who has been trained in the biomedical tradition. The availability of multiple options places Tonga with the majority of societies around the world that accommodate the coexistence of differing health care traditions.Medical pluralism has become the rule,not the exception.This paper is about the contemporary health care system that has its roots in early Tongan history.

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