BRIANAA “High Context Culture” means that the message people are trying to convey often relies heavily on other communicative cues such as body language and eye contact rather than direct wordsEgyptians make assumptions about what is not saidIt is vital to be aware of these non-verbal aspects of communication in any healthcare setting in order to avoid misunderstandings
BRIANA TO ANNE
ANNE TO ALISHA
ALISHAGenerally, the parents, spouses, and elder children, in descending order, have greater decision-making power than the rest of the relativesThe negative expectations can be rapidly reversed when someone moves from the “stranger category” and becomes an insider, as was previously described by the nursing theorist MadelieneLeininger
Egypt is located in the northeast part of Africa.
Egypt is separated from the Sinai Peninsula in
southwest Asia, by the Suez Canal. In 1869, the
“Statue of Liberty” was proposed to be placed at
the entrance of the Suez Canal and her flame was
to symbolize the light she was bringing to Asia.
She is said to have been originally meant to look
like an Arab peasant woman (Burns, 2002).
The Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea are
both major bodies of water surrounding the vast
deserts of Egypt.
The Nile River runs through mainland Egypt and
empties into the Mediterranean Sea
Most of Egypt is is a vast desert, with sand as
far as the eye can see; the terrain is very lush and
green near the Nile River.
The climate of Egypt is hot and
dry, however, the soil near the Nile River is fertile
and excellent for farming.
Total population: 85,294,388 [July 2013 est.]
Life expectancy at birth male : 71.3
Life expectancy at birth female : 75.4
Infant mortality rate (per 1,000 live births): 23.3
Probability of dying under age 5 (per 1,000 live births): 21
Probability of dying between age 15 to 60 years male (per 1,000):141
Probability of dying between age 15 to 60 years female (per 1,000):85
The “W.H.O” reports that in Egypt, chronic diseases account for 82 % of all deaths
Total deaths in Egypt : 495,000
Total deaths related to chronic disease : 384,000
In the Egyptian culture, people are encouraged to
steer clear of confrontation and conflict through the
use of compromise, patience and self-control
The theory of “face” in an elementary concern of
“Dignity” and “Respect” are the key elements of the
Egypt is considered as a very “high context culture”
Emphasis is placed on tone of voice, the use of
silence, facial cues and body language
Official Language of Egypt is “Literary Arabic”
– Classical Arabic
– Modern Standard Arabic
English is the most commonly used foreign language, followed by French
Most street signs are bilingual
– “Literary Arabic”
Some signs are in French and German
– English and French are widely understood by the educated classes
Unlike most other languages, Arabic is written and read from right to left
Avoidance of eye contactdisrespect.
Avoidance of eye contact between a female patient and a male healthcare
provider should not be misinterpreted as a lack of trust or a sign of
rejection, but rather as a common sign of modesty in this patient
Direct eye contact = honesty and sincerity; Egyptians believe that direct eye
contact is a sign of honesty and sincerity, so be prepared for disconcertingly
According to the Egyptian’s, gaining permission from a patient before
entering the room is required before coming in. The Egyptian patient would
appreciate it if some sort of notice was given before entering their rooms in
• Public displays of affection, anger or other emotions are
frequent and normal among Egyptians.
• Male friends often hold hands while walking together, as do
female friends (this has nothing to do with homosexuality).
Similarly, men kiss each other on the cheek as do female
• It is unusual for Egyptian spouses to display affection in front of
strangers, and public displays of affection between the
opposite sexes is definitely not acceptable in public. An
observation that might be misinterpreted by some health care
professionals as a sign of a dysfunctional family.
• It is not uncommon for an Egyptian patient to decline shaking
the hands with a health professional of the opposite sex;
caution should be practiced to avoid unnecessary
• In all parts of Egypt and among all social classes, having children is
deemed the greatest blessing of all.
• Prenatal care is often not sought as pregnancy is considered a
• Pregnant women should rest, eat well and do little work
• Fathers are not expected to participate in pregnancy, labor or delivery
• Mothers do not breastfeed until after the first 48 hours as colostrum is
believed to be harmful
• Both Copt and Muslim women breastfeed their children for two years
• Boys are circumcised as infants
• Caring for children is mainly the women’s responsibility; grandparents also
Preference for boys over girls; although both sexes are treated equally in infancy and early childhood.
Children are expected to be obedient; ‘back talk’ is forbidden.
Children may fear hospitals, schools, healthcare workers and injections as families sometimes threaten
children with these as deterrents.
Exposure of the patient’s body parts should be limited to the minimum necessary,
and permission should be asked before gently uncovering any part of the body.
Even more care should be taken when exposing the private parts, and attempts
should be made to avoid such exposures unless absolutely necessary
The birth of the first son is a momentous event, after which the father and mother
are often called by the titles “Abu” and “Umm” (father and mother) followed by
their son’s name.
Father’s whisper “Azaan” (a call to prayer) in newborn’s ear.
The Egyptian family will arrange for the slaughter of an animal “two for boys and
one for a girl” one week after the birth to mark the event.
Naming ceremony takes place one week after birth, mixing elements of “Islamic”
and “traditional” elements, this is a family celebration to bring the newborn into
A healthcare provider may often hear such phrases as “mash’allah” meaning
“thanks be to God”, or “insha’allah” meaning “if God wills it” and most sentences
will end with “hamdulillah” meaning “praise be to God”.
• Verbal permission is based on trust and is more acceptable than
• Patients and their families do not like knowing about the potential
complications before a medical procedure because it is thought to
be bad luck.
• Close family members often contribute significantly to the decisionmaking process.
• Power relations in Egyptian families vary from one family to
• The intense caring and involvement with family and close friends is
accompanied by mistrust and doubt about the intentions of those
outside the intimate circle.
• There are striking differences in the behaviors toward, and the
demands on, intimates versus the outsider.
• Naturalistic and social causes of sickness include bad luck, stress and
• Illness and suffering are believed to be God’s will; God’s punishment for
sins and the curse of the devil.
• In the Egyptian perspective, medication-related sedation is looked at from
two different angles:
– Alleviation of the suffering of a human being is considered very righteous
– Maintaining a level of consciousness as close to normal as possible is of great
importance to allow for observance of the worship rites for the longest period
possible before death.
• Disabled are treated with compassion and indulgence, and kept from the
public as those with genetic defects.
• Genetic counseling is generally refused
• Institutional care is shunned
In 2010, according to the WHO, Egypt has the capacity
to address and respond to the following :
“Healthy Egyptians 2010” is
program, initiated to combat many
of Egypt’s health related problems.
– Acting to educate the public
about the signs and symptoms
of the many disease processes
and how to best prevent them.
– This prevention curriculum has
been initiated in schools and
branches into comprehensive
services within the
– There is funding available for:
– NCD treatment and control
– NCD prevention and health promotion
– NCD surveillance, monitoring and evaluation
National health reporting system
Has an integrated or topic-specific
policy/program/action plan which is currently
Chronic respiratory diseases
• The ancient Egyptians had the earliest examples of the
holistic health practitioner. They treated the whole person,
physically, mentally, and spiritually. Many of the medicinal
herbs we use today were first used by the ancient Egyptians
and our knowledge of anatomy was handed down to us by
these ancient healers from their experience with
• Egyptian patients resort to modern medicine, spiritual
healing, and traditional healing practices.
• Many Egyptians believe in the power of the Evil Eye, for
demons “djinn” are mentions in the Qur’an, and it is
believed that the repeating of invocations in the name of
God will prevent harm at the hands of these “djinn”
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Cultural Approaches to Pediatric Palliative Care in Central Massachusetts. (2013, November 25). World’s People in Central Massachusetts. Retrieved
October 30, 2013, from http://libraryguides.umassmed.edu/diversity_guide
Muigai, A., & Morales-Correa, B. (2009). Egypt People and Culture. Egypt People and Culture. Retrieved November 2, 2013, from http://www.all-aboutegypt.com/egyptian-people.html
United States, US Army Training and Doctrine Command, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence. (2006). Arab Cultural Awareness: 58 Factsheets.
Retrieved November 30, 2013, from http://www.fas.org/irp/agency/army/arabculture.pdf