The Saudi Bedu and Health Care


While it is difficult to simply generalize categories of people, if in Saudi Arabia one will continue hear references to “the bedu.” It may be such phrases as “oh that is so bedu” or “he/she is a bedu” and other references (usually not complimentary) to the beduions customs and characteristics.


With this post, I’m going to address the challenges that need to be overcome in regards to the bedu and health care. In this capacity, a bedu is referred to as someone who is less educated and unsophisticated. Usually this bedu has not completed high school and continues to live a traditional life oftentimes without tv. Such bedu’s may not know how to read or write.


If a bedu has a medical condition requiring treatment, he or she may not seek medical help until the condition is at an extreme stage. Many times the bedu will seek help when it is too late for a physician to heal the inflection. In other cases a bedu may make it to a health care facility in time for treatment. A physician will begin treatment but then a challenge a physician will face is getting the bedu to follow directions and continue treatment until its conclusion. Some Saudi doctors practicing in the Kingdom have shared that a common frustration is having a bedu patient who begins to respond to treatment, considers himself or herself cured and therefore decides to no longer show up for continued care and evaluation. This is in spite of the physician informing the bedu that treatment has not been completed.


The Ministry of Health and many hospitals, clinics and physicians are attempting to educate bedus through community based medicine and other proactive initiatives. Progress is slowly being made but simply not fast enough. It is critical for communities to work together on social action programs which include spreading awareness of health care.


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