Health Inequality in the Andes: An Ethnicity-Centered Approach (thesis)
In summary, there exists a significant body of work on health inequalities in the Andes. However, much of this literature provides somewhat fragmented pieces of a complex whole with respect to the production of health disparities among indigenous groups in the region. Existing quantitative studies primarily examine socioeconomic status as it relates to health outcomes and only tangentially address the role of ethnicity. Furthermore, nearly all of these studies use child malnutrition as their sole dependent variable when greater complexity exists regarding health outcomes. In addition, these quantitative studies do not address how health-seeking behavior is affected by local factors, including indigeneity. In essence, existing quantitative literature fails to offer explanatory mechanisms for inequalities in health, largely overlooking the complexity of the problem as a social issue. Complementing these works with ethnographic studies serves to bridge some of the gap between the trends identified and the local experiences they represent. These studies provide richer analysis of the experiences of indigenous peoples but often fall short of examining health factors specifically and cannot often be used to track group-level health outcomes. As a result, the present study aims to bridge studies focusing on local indigenous illness experiences with quantitative data analysis conducted through an ethnicity-focused lens. To a large extent, previous work explains the links between ethnicity and poor health outcomes solely in terms of socioeconomic status, which ignores the possibility that there are ethnicity-specific factors beyond poverty which contribute to health disparities. As such, this analysis will be couched within the structural realities of the existing health systems which serve the Andean populations in order to contextualize and make inferences about the observed trends. This work suggests there are a number of structural issues unique to the experiences of indigenous populations which contribute to entrenched horizontal inequalities in health outcomes that afflict indigenous groups in Peru. [From Introduction and Background]
Capstone; [FULL-TEXT FREELY AVAILABLE ONLINE]Jackson Roberts is a member of the Class of 2019 of Washington and Lee University.