Document Detail

'A bothersome death'--narrative accounts of infant mortality in Cape Town, South Africa.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  7792633     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Traditional measures of health status such as mortality rates and cause-of-death information give limited insight into the role of caregivers and health care providers in infant illness and death. To the extent that the behaviours of these parties can be accurately mapped, they may reveal important sites for effective community interventions and the improvement of medical care. This possibility is explored in relation to infant mortality in Cape Town, South Africa, by analysing verbal histories provided by the caregivers of 70 infants in the course of obtaining police death certification. From these verbal histories it appears that acute respiratory infection and diarrhoeal disease caused the majority of deaths. Infants with a respiratory condition were likely to have been taken for medical attention prior to death. By contrast, the parents of infants with diarrhoeal disease, while more active towards these infants, were less likely to seek medical care--these infants typically being found dead in bed or dying en route to the hospital or clinic. A story of infant death at home following recent medical care was obtained in over half the cases. This study demonstrates a simple method for the examination of the content and structure of lay accounts of illness and death. The implications for health care of such accounts are discussed in terms of the behavioural antecedents of infant mortality due to acute respiratory infections and diarrhoeal disease.
L B Lerer; A Butchart; M T Blanche
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Comparative Study; Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Social science & medicine (1982)     Volume:  40     ISSN:  0277-9536     ISO Abbreviation:  Soc Sci Med     Publication Date:  1995 Apr 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  1995-07-27     Completed Date:  1995-07-27     Revised Date:  2006-11-15    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  8303205     Medline TA:  Soc Sci Med     Country:  ENGLAND    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  945-53     Citation Subset:  IM    
Department of Forensic Medicine, Medical School Observatory, University of Cape Town, South Africa.
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MeSH Terms
Attitude to Death*
Cause of Death
Cross-Cultural Comparison
Death Certificates
Developing Countries*
Diarrhea, Infantile / mortality*,  psychology
Home Nursing / psychology*
Respiratory Tract Infections / mortality*,  psychology
South Africa / epidemiology

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