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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Shopping for health: affliction and response in a South African village
Authors:Golooba-Mutebi, Frederick
Tollman, Stephen M.
Periodical:African Sociological Review (ISSN 1027-4332)
Notes:biblio. refs.
Geographic terms:South Africa
Southern Africa
Subjects:access to health care
folk medicine
Medicine, Nutrition, Public Health
public health
Medical care
Abstract:Much research on health-seeking behaviour focuses on the role of traditional practitioners and healing practices, while policy experts in the health sector focus on physical infrastructure, supplies, equipment, and human and financial resources. Folk beliefs about illness causation and treatment do not feature in policy discussions, nor are they a major feature of medical curricula. This paper argues that this approach to health education and policymaking is inadequate. It examines responses to ill-health in a rural South African village in Limpopo Province and the ideas and reasons underlying them. The 3776 inhabitants are Shangaan and include 926 Mozambican immigrants. The article examines in particular the factors influencing health-seeking behaviour and the implications for public policy in general and health policy in particular. It shows that responses to ill-health are pragmatic and pluralistic. Folk beliefs are important in decisionmaking, as are other factors, such as experiences with the formal health system and access to social and financial resources. The search for therapy is therefore not a powerless and blind search, but one based on rational decisionmaking, in which many actors participate. The most immediate implication is that there is more to planning service delivery than focusing on infrastructure and supplies. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [ASC Leiden abstract]