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Anthropology and Public HealthBridging Differences in Culture and Society$
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Robert A Hahn and Marcia Inborn

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195374643

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195374643.001.0001

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Counting on Mother’s Love: The Global Politics of Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV in Eastern Africa

Counting on Mother’s Love: The Global Politics of Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV in Eastern Africa

Chapter:
(p.447) 16 Counting on Mother’s Love: The Global Politics of Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV in Eastern Africa
Source:
Anthropology and Public Health
Author(s):

Karen Marie Moland

Astrid Blystad

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195374643.003.0017

In areas where breastfeeding is normative and essential to infant survival, prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT) represents a public health dilemma. This chapter discusses the problem of adherence to infant feeding recommendations in PMTCT programmes in Ethiopia and Tanzania. It demonstrates how a set of discourses on prevention, rights, and choice places the responsibility for child survival on the mother while at the same time conceptualizing her body, and particularly her milk, as an impediment to that survival. Focusing on HIV positive mothers' breastfeeding experiences, it argues that although “mother's love” is located at its core, the PMTCT program challenges culturally anchored ideas about decision-making and authority, gender and motherhood and hence struggles with local relevance and support.

Keywords:   HIV, PMTCT, breastfeeding culture, informed choice, global-local dynamics

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