The behavioural and social aspects of malaria and its control
An introduction and annotated bibliography
By H. Kristian Heggenhougen, Veronica Hackethal, Pramila Vivek
The intention of this monograph is to highlight the importance of sociocultural factors in malaria control and to make clear that the fight against malaria and other infectious diseases is inseparable from the striving for socioeconomic and political equity. The authors show that human behaviour is related to risk for malaria, and that such behaviour is influenced by a range of cultural and social factors which it is crucial to consider.
The monograph provides a valuable social science starting point for the design and evaluation of anti-malaria interventions. It commences with a thorough analysis of the perception of malaria as a disease, then looks at the effect of human movement on malaria. Since a considerable gap remains between 'correct scientific knowledge' and the accepted practices and beliefs about malaria held by different groups of people, one section discusses the difficulties imposed by the clash between 'northern' and traditional ways of responding to disease episodes, and demonstrates that the 'North' has much to learn from the 'South'. Also covered are attitudes towards the use of insecticide-impregnated bednets, gender issues such as the invisible role of women in determining the health-related practices of a household, and the manner in which people interact with each other, identify needs, and make decisions. Finally there is an extensive annotated bibliography of the social science literature on malaria.