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October 2022

Soc Sci Med. 1988 ; 27(1): 97-105.

Anthropological involvement in the Central American diarrheal disease control project.

Scrimshaw SC, Hurtado E.

School of Public Health, Department of Anthropology, UCLA 90024.

The process of conducting applied anthropological work leading to health program development and evaluation is seldom described in the literature. This paper discusses the combination of factors which led to the involvement of anthropologists in the Central American Child Survival Project and how anthropological approaches are being used in the project. Ethnoclassification was used to illustrate the discrepancy between the proposed approach to treatment for dehydration produced by diarrheal disease and the actual beliefs and practices in 4 Central American communities. Techniques such as rapid, focused assessment using anthropological methods of data collection and presentation are discussed, as are strategies for presenting this information to health program planners and administrators.

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