The role of ethnography in STI and HIV/AIDS education and promotion with traditional healers in Zimbabwe

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Abstract

This article explores the utility of ethnography in accounting for healers’ understandings of HIV/AIDS—and more generally sexually transmitted infections—and the planning of HIV/AIDS education interventions targeting healers in urban Zimbabwe. I argue that much of the information utilized for planning and implementing such programs is actually based on rapid research procedures (usually single-method survey-based approaches) that do not fully capture healers’ explanatory frameworks. This incomplete information then becomes authoritative knowledge about local ‘traditions' and forms the basis for the design and implementation of training programs. Such decontextualization may, in turn, affect program effectiveness.

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