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Anthropology and Public HealthBridging Differences in Culture and Society$
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Robert A Hahn and Marcia Inborn

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195374643

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195374643.001.0001

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Indigenization of Illness Support Groups for Lymphatic Filariasis in Haiti

Indigenization of Illness Support Groups for Lymphatic Filariasis in Haiti

(p.245) 9 Indigenization of Illness Support Groups for Lymphatic Filariasis in Haiti
Anthropology and Public Health

Jeannine Coreil

Gladys Mayard

Oxford University Press

This chapter describes the process of indigenization within peer support groups for Haitian women living with the physical impairment of lymphatic filariasis. The groups developed a distinctive style characterized by minimal interest in talking about the illness and a strong interest in religion and spirituality, artistic and expressive components, acquisition of practical skills, and microenterprise activities. The context of indigenous traditions of mutual aid, material needs of families, and political and economic insecurity is discussed. Results are framed within a theoretical discussion of factors that lead self-help groups into social action. The findings counterbalance traditional approaches to culturally competent health program planning by highlighting the active role of participants in tailoring an intervention to the local cultural context.

Keywords:   indigenization, support groups, Haiti, lymphatic filariasis, women

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