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Egyptian and Filipino Heritage and Health Beliefs

Every ethnic group develops its heritage under the impact of diverse factors both inside and outside of the place they inhabit. In turn, cultural heritage including customs, traditions, and beliefs, influence different spheres of life of the ethnic group. Thus, traditional beliefs about health determine the healthcare behavior of people and influence their perceptions of medical service. It is important to know these peculiarities to provide culturally competent health care. This paper investigates health care beliefs typical of Egyptian and Filipino heritage, reveals their similarities, and discovers the impact that these beliefs have on the delivery of evidence-based care.

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Health Care Beliefs of Egyptian and Filipino People

The cultural heritage of Egyptian people has strong religious roots. Despite the broad acceptance of the modern health care system, many Egyptians combine them with traditional practices. It is particularly true for rural areas where midwives not only assist during childbirth but also provide general medical advice for the female population. In addition, Egyptian people sometimes address traditional health practitioners including seers and spirit healers. It is a common practice among Egyptians to search for naturalistic and social causes, which comprise bad luck, stress, or “bad eye” (“Cultural approaches to pediatric palliative care,” 2017). On the whole, witchcraft and magic are important factors in Egyptian health beliefs. Thus, amulets are considered helpful for the prevention of “evil eye” and illnesses.

Filipino heritage has been developing under the influence of the cultures of neighboring countries such as China, Japan, East India, Malaysia, as well as Islamic culture and Spanish and American colonization (Purnell, 2014). As for health and illness, some Filipinos demonstrate fatalistic behavior. They tend to accept their fate when they feel it cannot be changed. Healthcare decisions are made in the family circle because Filipinos are a family-oriented cultural group (Giger, 2013).

While many Filipino people accept the contemporary medical practice, they frequently seek alternative sources of care. These ingenious medical practitioners are usually recommended by family members or trusted friends (Purnell, 2014). Personal cleanness is considered to be important for one’s health. Another belief attributed to infants and children is the “evil eye” that can cause illness. Also, organ donation is not accepted in the majority of cases.

One of the major similarities between Egyptian and Filipino populations is their belief that everything, including illnesses, is God’s will. One more similarity found in Egyptian and Filipino heritage is the concept of “evil eye,” which is typically considered to be the cause of illnesses in children. Another similar feature is treating mental illnesses as a stigma. It leads to the situation when people start seeking help already in an advanced stage, which decreases the probability of favorable outcomes. Also, the participation of family members in the process of care is typical of both ethnic groups. Finally, personal hygiene is significant for the representatives of both cultures.

The Impact of Beliefs on the Delivery of Evidence-Based Health Care

Since the family is important for making health decisions in both ethnic groups, the presence of nuclear and extended families near patients can improve treatment adherence. The belief that the “evil eye” can cause illnesses in children negatively influences the habit of seeking evidence-based care because Filipino people would rather address religious healing rituals such as prayers or exorcism, or use herbs (Purnell, 2014).

This behavior can lead to complications of the patient’s condition and make treatment less effective. Pain is frequently considered “as part of living an honorable life” and patients may not complain of pain or assess its severity, which negatively influences nursing care (Purnell, 2014, p. 173). Egyptian patients also cannot evaluate the pain they are experiencing and describe it as fire, rocks, knives, or iron.

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Thus, their pain response does not indicate how acute pain is. The Muslim majority of the Egyptian female population can be reluctant to seek care due to the emphasis on modesty in their culture (Purnell, 2014). Consequently, they do not get evidence-based care, which can have serious consequences. Still, those representatives of both cultures who adhere to contemporary health care services, acknowledge the authority of physicians. On the whole, nurses should be aware of the possible application of folk healing practices by Egyptian or Filipino patients and control their appropriateness in the context of the selected treatment strategy.


To summarize, it should be mentioned that while Egyptian and Filipino cultural heritages have different backgrounds, there are also some similarities including the aspects related to healthcare. While both ethnic groups have access to contemporary medical care, traditional folk beliefs are strong among them. For example, the belief in the “black eye” as the cause of health problems in infants and children leads to improper treatment or the lack of treatment at all, which negatively influences patient outcomes.

On the whole, the traditional beliefs of these ethnic groups have an impact on the delivery of evidence-based health care. Thus, Egyptian and Filipino patients may not get enough professional and timely care due to the high level of trust in folk healers or religious treatment practices. Therefore, nurses need to be culturally competent to provide high-quality, evidence-based care to these people and increase their treatment compliance in the context of the contemporary medical service.


Cultural approaches to pediatric palliative care in central Massachusetts: Egyptian. (2017). Web.

Giger, J. N. (2013). Transcultural nursing: Assessment and intervention (6th ed.). St. Louis, MO: Mosby.

Purnell, L. D. (2014). Guide to culturally competent health care (3rd ed.). Philadelphia, PA: F.A. Davis Company.

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