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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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The Anthropology of Childhood Malaria in Tanzania

The Anthropology of Childhood Malaria in Tanzania

Chapter:
(p.35) 1 The Anthropology of Childhood Malaria in Tanzania
Source:
Anthropology and Public Health
Author(s):

Vinay R. Kamat

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195374643.003.0002

Drawing on an ethnographic study, this chapter examines why mothers in Tanzania delay in seeking early diagnosis and treatment at health facilities for their febrile children. It highlights how mothers often exaggerate the symptoms of their sick children to health care personnel in order to obtain the best available treatment. Contextualized stories illustrate how health care seeking for childhood malaria is often mediated by cultural meanings associated with certain illnesses, perceived severity and past experience with an illness, structural disadvantages affecting women's access to societal resources, and the patterns of communication between mothers and health care providers. Case studies illustrate the pragmatic considerations that inform mothers' negotiation of appropriate therapy for their febrile children in a medically pluralistic setting.

Keywords:   malaria, treatment seeking, medical pluralism, cultural models, Tanzania, ethnography

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