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University of London - London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (1992)

Household determinants of child health amongst the Fulani and Dogon of central Mali

Castle, Sarah E.

Titre : Household determinants of child health amongst the Fulani and Dogon of central Mali.

Auteur : Castle, Sarah E.

Université de soutenance : University of London - London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

Grade : Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) : 1992

Introduction
The thesis will therefore identify differences in women’s status and support systems within their households, and the pathways by which these affect their management of childhood illness episodes and their child care practices. ’Women’s status’ is often ill- defined and results in many terms or concepts having different connotations for different authors, making cross-cultural comparisons difficult and often meaningless (Oppenheim-Mason 1988). In this analysis, status and support categories are defined according to a woman’s labor relationships with other female household members, usually based on the power or authority she assumes, or is subject to, when she marries into a household and into what is essentially a work relationship with her mother- in-law. Status here therefore, reflects the way that women differ from each other, rather than from men, in terms of their socio- economic and political power within their home environments. It is suggested that the more women are organisationally, if not physically separate in their own households, the greater their reliance on extra-household resources or on their own knowledge or intuition, and the more important their autonomy and control over their own time and labor if they are to deal with illnesses successfully. As such status may change during the life time of an individual woman, or during the life-cycle of an individual household, the effect this has on mothers, resources, knowledge and power for maintaining children’s health or for adopting effective treatment procedures will be identified. The data provide therefore, what is essentially a ’snapshot’ of individual women in particular households at a particular time. The social forces under consideration may change as marital processes unfold and the dynamics of individual households change with their fission, growth or reproduction. It will be shown however, that there is a need to incorporate intra-household variation into theories of the health transition, as it cannot be assumed that all members of a household have equal access to the social, health and economic resources that have been shown to be influential in triggering fertility and mortality declines elsewhere. xvii

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