Zvinorwadza : Being a patient in the religious and medical plurality of the Mberengwa district, Zimbabwe

Detta är en avhandling från Uppsala : Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis

Sammanfattning: This thesis deals with patients in a rural area of southern Africa and poses these basic questions: What does it mean to be ill in this part of the world and what do patients' life-worlds look like? In order to find answers to these questions, an in-depth fieldwork was carried out through which I was able to study how patients reacted to illness. I followed twenty patients in their search of ease, of which ten were members of Chief Mataga's family, with whom I was staying. Each patient, some relative(s) and the traditional healer(s), hospital staff and faith healer(s) consulted constituted a "multi-episodical" case. In addition, a questionnaire was applied in order to collect supplementary information.I summarised the central motifs in the life-worlds of the patients as follows: Patients' illness experiences were described with the words pain, anxiety and sometimes despair.Patients' social situations were often marked by vulnerability, exposedness and insecurity which applied to both genders, but particularly to women.Patients' help-seeking behaviour was characterised by pragmatism, complementarity and plurality; that is, they made use of the religious and medical plurality at hand.Patients' conceptions about illnesses and aetiologies involved qualities of uncertainty, flexibility and multidimensionality.Patients' treatment experiences, finally, were summarised in three words: some experienced ease, others complete healing, while a significant group of the multi-episodical patients experienced nondeliverance.A further area of research was the various factors which negatively or positively influenced the lives of people in the area. I examined those factors from both an insider and an outsider perspective and concluded that the phenomenon of illness and healing need to be regarded holistically and that it is of crucial importance to acknowledge patients' own ideas concerning those issues.

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