Document Detail

Coping with a nutrient deficiency: cultural models of vitamin A deficiency in northern Niger.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  15370198     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Cultural explanations and management strategies for specific signs and symptoms of vitamin A deficiency are explored in a Hausa-speaking community in northern Niger. Their interpretations of the etiology of nightblindness in young children and pregnant women focus on food-related causes, in which "lack of good food" is central. In parallel with the significance of food in the etiology of nightblindness, the recommended treatments are home food remedies, primarily involving liver, meat, or green leaves. The locally attributed etiology for the more severe manifestation of vitamin A deficiency, xerophthalmia, stands in sharp contrast to this. People believe the primary cause is "heat" produced by acute infectious disease (particularly measles). A trip to the medical dispensary or a reliance upon home remedies are the preferred treatment options for this condition. We explore the striking correspondence between local interpretations of nightblindness and contemporary medical knowledge and treatment in relation to the very different explanations and curative measures offered for more serious manifestations of vitamin A deficiency.
Lauren S Blum; Gretel H Pelto; Pertti J Pelto
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Medical anthropology     Volume:  23     ISSN:  0145-9740     ISO Abbreviation:  Med Anthropol     Publication Date:    2004 Jul-Sep
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2004-09-16     Completed Date:  2004-10-26     Revised Date:  2004-11-17    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  7707343     Medline TA:  Med Anthropol     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  195-227     Citation Subset:  IM    
ICDDR, B: Centre for Health and Population Research, Dhaka, Bangladesh.
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MeSH Terms
Anthropology, Cultural
Body Temperature
Child, Preschool
Cultural Characteristics*
Data Collection
Deficiency Diseases / ethnology*,  etiology,  therapy
Infant, Newborn
Infection / complications
Medicine, African Traditional
Niger / ethnology
Night Blindness / etiology*
Vitamin A Deficiency / complications*,  ethnology*,  therapy

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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