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Reflections on Possibilities of Integration of Homeopathy in Publicly Funded Primary Care: Findings from a Historical Qualitative Case Study
05 February 2018 (online)
Optimal access to homeopathic treatment within publicly funded primary care remains a holy grail of many holistic healthcare pioneers. Numerous efforts, in both academic and clinical settings, were put in the last four decades toward building arguments, evidence base and policy conditions for an integrative primary care available to all. Yet the realisation of this vision remains scarce, while integrative care initiatives are often marginalised if not ostracised. This presentation will report the findings on stakeholders’views about possibilities of integration of complementary and alternative therapies into national primary care services in Serbia, using homeopathy as an exploratory focus. The findings were produced within a wider research project, which explored diversity of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in Serbia between 2003 and 2006 and possibilities of establishing an integrative primary care. The overall research was designed as a qualitative case study drawing on the anthropology of policy approach that framed a complementary use of observations, document analysis and interviews. The research insights that will be discussed at this occasion were generated through a contextualised qualitative analysis of transcripts of in-depth interviews with 11 selected key actors: policy makers, medical managers of three primary care polyclinics and opinion makers on the homeopathic scene.
Along with widely reported quest for evidence and less widely reported “battles” of evidence making, this piece of research also highlights the importance of “the politics of naming” and the agency of language in creation of professional identities and integrative power relations, so essential for any actualisation of integrative primary care. Further on, the findings point to theoretical tensions and variations in understanding homeopathy among the stakeholders, creating thus an impasse that could be partially resolved if focus is turned to practical manifestations and outcomes. Finally, the observed incentives for integration will be presented and discussed.
Keywords: Integrative healthcare, primary care, complementary and alternative medicine, homeopathy, case study, stakeholder analysis, anthropology of policy, power relations, historical, Serbia