n African Journal for Physical Health Education, Recreation and Dance - Explanatory models of disease and its causes in a rural community in Limpopo Province, South Africa : implications for treatment : rural health and indigenous knowledge system

Supplement 1
  • ISSN : 1117-4315


Explanations of disease and its causes are formed from cultural symbols, experiences and expectations associated with categories of disease. The models reveal disease labelling and cultural idioms for expressing experiences of disease. The present study was conducted to examine explanations of disease and its causes from a sample of 100 respondents. Structured interviews produced four explanatory frameworks of disease and five factors responsible for disease based on the cultural orientation of the study sample. Explanations of disease and its causes influence the choice of treatment. The respondents' explanations of disease and its causes are influenced by their cultural orientation. The study recommends documentation of the local communities' explanations of disease and beliefs in the causes of disease, and the information made available to biomedical staff to have understanding of the patients' explanations of disease and treatment seeking behaviour.

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