DEFINING HEALTH IN THE INTERCULTURAL SENSE
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The World Health Organization of the United Nations defined health with their constitution in 1948 as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”. As of today, this definition is argued to be outdated and is therefore globally under debate. In 2016, Machteld Huber proposed a new framework for health, called “positive health”, which is currently gaining popularity at the UMC Utrecht. However, Huber also acknowledges that her framework was constituted in a Dutch context and that it may not reflect the attitudes and beliefs of other, “especially non-western” populations. The goal of this research was thus to achieve understanding for the health beliefs and values of Syrian woman and how these relate to the concept of “positive health”. The larger purpose was to improve intercultural communication in Dutch health care systems. A community-based approach was chosen as a design for this research. A semi-structured interview was held with six Syrian women at a community house in Utrecht. From an analysis of their expressions, a framework of five dimensions with 22 aspects was defined. The first three dimensions of this research fitted, to some extent, in the framework “positive health” of Machteld Huber. The last two dimensions, “religion and faith” and “female health”, were not present in Huber’s framework. Most of the aspects matched at least to some extent aspects of Huber’s framework, with the most important differences being trauma and loss, stress and worrying, family and financial and material well-being. Further research is valuable for improving intercultural communication in health care organizations.