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University of Toronto Scarborough

ANTC68 WINTER 2013 “Applying medical anthropology in the control of infectious diseases” Manderson Introduction  There needs to be the inclusion of anthropology to better analyze the roles of human behavior and social structure in the transmission of infection, and to analyze the difficulties in introducing and sustaining behavioral and educational interventions for prevention and treatment Belief, Anthropology & Public Health  Key problem according to Good o Scientific knowledge is positioned SUPERORDINATE to folk belief creating an hierarchical relationship  This has been the case with the Health Belief model o Determining health education and promotion and which takes as axiomatic the linear relationship of knowledge to behavior o Public health aims to replace FALSE beliefs with ACCURATE knowledge o Belief that information changes, behavior will follow suit o Institutions privilege their knowledge over indigenous knowledge  There is uneasy in anthropology at documenting belief and behavior in isolation from the social, political and economic contexts  But we must be pragmatic, humanistic and ethical – some biomedical interventions is better than none and better than shaman songs Rapid Anthropological Assessment  Cost of this approach is the loss of contextual information and the probable over simplification of behavior due to the brevity of field work and the lack of participant observation which enhances and indeed is the one means to ensure validity of data  Anthropologists must compete with other professionals who have included traditional anthropological approaches such as in-depth interviews and focus interviews into their repertoire  This need to be efficient and have end products and deliverables in the age of consultancy  Ethnographic research within the context of rapid assessment procedures is a valuable means to understand behavior and action Local Taxonomies & Aetiology  Important to identify factors that influence people’s ability to diagnose illness or distinguish minor ailments from life threatening disease and the factors that affect people’s preparedness to use biomedical services and adhere to prescribed treatment  Important to know local folk categorization of symptoms, for example cough o In Philippines, if the cough was seen as to a sprain (piang), this demands that the mother take the child to a local healthier for confirmed diagnosis and treatment by massage before alternative 1 ANTC68 WINTER 2013 paths are pursued such as going to a clinic (this explains delay of patient presenting to a western-type health professional) Prevention of Infectious Disease & Change of Behavior  Difficulties in preventing infectious disease due to environmental, financial, structural, infrastructural and behavioral issues  Examples: introduction of water safety, sanitation and hygienic procedures requires not only behavioral change but financial investment for water and sanitation infrastructure, and major health education campaigns to encourage people to use latrines at all times, to wash hands before and after use, before and after preparation of food and eating and after material that might be contaminated o No follow up or way of keeping uptake of infrastructure renovations o Cultural values related to pollution, hygiene and domestic duties shape these behaviors that are associated with infe
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