Indigenization of Illness Support Groups for Lymphatic Filariasis in Haiti
This chapter describes the process of indigenization within peer support groups for Haitian women living with the physical impairment of lymphatic filariasis. The groups developed a distinctive style characterized by minimal interest in talking about the illness and a strong interest in religion and spirituality, artistic and expressive components, acquisition of practical skills, and microenterprise activities. The context of indigenous traditions of mutual aid, material needs of families, and political and economic insecurity is discussed. Results are framed within a theoretical discussion of factors that lead self-help groups into social action. The findings counterbalance traditional approaches to culturally competent health program planning by highlighting the active role of participants in tailoring an intervention to the local cultural context.
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