Navigation auf


InterActHealth - Intercultural transdisciplinarity for public health in Latin America


Despite efforts in the past, the health care of indigenous people in Latin America remains precarious. This is shown, inter alia, in their higher disease probability and mortality rate compared to the rest of the population. The underlying causes are complex. However, a lack of co-operation between divergent medical systems practiced in parallel, namely western biomedicine and traditional indigenous medicine, can be seen as a major obstacle to improved health care in these countries.

In our project, which concentrates on Peru and Guatemala we will, thus, create the conditions for a comprehensive, intercultural learning platform that considers both the concepts of traditional indigenous medicine and conventional biomedicine. As a prerequisite for that, an initial project focus will for the first time comprehensively examine and document the fundamentals of indigenous medicine on health, illness and therapy from a medical and socio-scientific point of view. A next step will comprise patient-centered approaches, in which western medical staff and traditional medical practitioners will be setting up joint medical collaborations. Accompanying workshops will be organized for the involved interest groups as a framework for the exchange of experience, transdisciplinary communication and the development of future, efficient, integrative medical concepts.

In line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, we hope that our project will sustainably strengthen local traditions, reduce social inequities, strengthen the right to health and education, and, thus, promote the establishment of peaceful and inclusive societies.


The overall project aims to develop and assess intercultural transdisciplinary (TD) approaches to building avenues for culturally pertinent public health provision systems with two LAn indigenous populations and contributes to the global discussion on how to integrate biomedicine with Traditional & Alternative Medicine (T&AM). This project encompasses four strategic objectives, namely to:

  • O.1. develop a transdisciplinary platform enabling a patient-centered collaboration in the treatment of diseases that can provide a model for joint development of intercultural health care provision systems between Maya doctors and the public health sector in Guatemala.
  • O.2 develop an anthropolinguistic/ethnopsychological approach that emanates from emic descriptions of Amazonian ethnomedical concepts, assesses wider healthcare frameworks and contributes to the understanding of key aspects of intercultural healthcare for marginalized indigenous peoples in Peru.
  • O.3 conduct a transdisciplinary process that facilitates collaboration among biomedical public health institutions and traditional indigenous groups to produce new models of culturally pertinent health care in Latin America.
  • O.4 conduct a transdisciplinary North-South process that fosters mutual learning for improved health in multicultural settings, including models for integration of biomedicine and T&AM