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Journal of Human Growth and Development

versão impressa ISSN 0104-1282versão On-line ISSN 2175-3598


ADORNO, Rubens de Camargo Ferreira  e  PICOLI, Renata Palópoli. Health care of kaiowá and guarani children: field observation notes. Rev. bras. crescimento desenvolv. hum. [online]. 2008, vol.18, n.1, pp. 35-45. ISSN 0104-1282.

In this article, we start a discussion on health and care practices used by the Kaiowá and Guarani from Caarapó Indian Reserve in coping with diarrhea diseases in childhood. This ethnographical study was carried out through the use of the participant observation technique and open interviews with the community's inhabitants. As it is a society that experiences permanent social transformations deriving from interethnic relations and from the successive presence of the health services, it is observed that the meaning of infantile diarrhea, as well as the decisions related to prevention and treatment, reflect different and complex behaviors. Diarrhea, also known as chiri, is defined through signals that, in a certain way, are similar to the biomedical ones. However, the explanations of causes and the forms of treatment sometimes do not follow the biomedical approach. The variety of causes of diarrhea disease among Indian children implies the choice of the therapeutic process, which can be the search for a traditional specialist, the preparation of teas and infusions and the search for the health services. Such explanations and forms of treatment presuppose the existence of a negotiation process between people from the same culture and from distinct cultures. Thus, the health services, when treating the child with diarrhea, must not only consider the biomedical perspective, but they should also interact with the Indian perception and practices, in order to identify the causes and to define the diagnosis and treatment, mainly because of the coexistence of these practices in the local context.

Palavras-chave : Children's health; infantile diarrhea; ethnography; Kaiowá and Guarani indians.

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