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Traditional healers, mothers and childhood diarrheal disease in Swaziland: The interface of anthropology and health education

  • Education


A study of beliefs and practices relating to childhood diarrhea, relying primarily on traditional healers as informants and survey respondents, revealed an indegenous classification of childhood diarrhea into three main types. Enemas are used as a treatment in two types of more serious diarrhea regarded as due to unnatural causes. Most children with diarrhea are taken to clinics only after home treatments and those of traditional healers have failed, by which time a child may be severely dehydrated. The role of oral rehydration and strategies for health education are discussed in the context of Swazi culture.

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