World Health & Population

World Health & Population 10(3) January 2009 : 36-46.doi:10.12927/whp.2009.20427

Local Knowledge of the Link between Tuberculosis and HIV-1/AIDS among the Turkana of Lodwar Township: Implications for Tuberculosis and HIV-1/AIDS Prevention

John Arianda Owiti


This article is extracted from a doctoral thesis that was supported by a research grant from the International Development Research Centre of Canada (IDRC)'s Ecosystem Approaches to Human Health Training Award, the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Northern Ireland's Emslie Horniman Scholarship Fund and McGill University, Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research's Humanities and Social Sciences Research Award.

This study used a broad theoretical framework encompassing an ecosystem approach to HIV-1/AIDS that partly investigated the nexus between local knowledge of tuberculosis (TB) and HIV-1/AIDS. According to the Turkana of Lodwar township, Kenya, HIV-1/AIDS and TB are largely contagious and are attributed to impersonal and natural causes. In addition, in line with biomedical knowledge, the Turkana's local knowledge emphasises a conceptual link between TB and HIV-1/AIDS. The study also demonstrates that factors of the ecosystem such as kaada, poverty, widow inheritance, migration and other socio-cultural practices play an influential role in the vulnerability of the Turkana to the contraction and transmission of both TB and HIV-1/AIDS. The article posits an integrated approach to the prevention of TB and HIV-1 and to the management of AIDS and TB.



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