Sygeplejersken. 1988 Nov; 88(48): suppl 1-19.
[Malnutrition--disease or punishment]
The starting point for this study is the Family Life Training Programme, which is a nutrition Programme placed in the Kenyan Ministry of Culture and Social Services. As part of an attempt to change the strategy of the programme, the Ministry carried out a nutrition study in four sublocations within two locations in Siaya District with Lwak nutrition center as a focal point. Siaya District is located in Nyanza Province near The Victoria Lake. The area is mainly populated by Luos, the third largest ethnic group in Kenya. The society is partrilineal whereby lineal descent occurs only through the male line. Rights of inheritance for land and stock goes from father to son. A mans status is reflected in his wealth, which is measured by the size of his production unit, the number of wives and children he has. Children are highly valued and many children are an ideal for women as well as men. It has been the aim of this research-project to elucidate the social, health-related and cultural background for the understanding of malnutrition in this area, with a view to demonstrating the importance of an integrated medical/cultural approach to the planning and implementation of health programmes. The study has worked with several research problems: one has been to shed light on the social/medical factors which are related to malnutrition in children under five in the studied areas as well as the extent of the problem. Another has been to shed light on the families own views of the medical concept of malnutrition and then choices of treatment when a child does not thrive. The study has aimed to clarify the "explanatory models" held by different practitioners within the"health care system". Perceptions of behaviour in connection with maintenance of health and prevention of sickness has also been part of the study and are elucidated in relation to childrens languishing.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)