Moustapha Ould Taleb: Nomadic Peoples’ Representations of Tuberculosis in Mauritania and Chad

PhD-thesis within the framework of the NCCR North-South, University of Cocdy, Abidjan, co-supervised by PD Dr Jakob Zinsstag, Swiss Tropical Institute (2008)

This study was conducted among nomadic and settled pastoralists in Mauritania and Chad, countries that lack institutionalized preventive and treatment services. These people are exposed to health risks which are related to their harsh environment and to insufficient health services. In order to analyze tuberculosis management among these communities and develop alternative strategies for control, the research focuses on the mechanisms of vulnerability in relation to the representations of the illness and the access to treatment. Central issues that affect TB control are stigmatization and poor knowledge about the disease. Interesting is the fact, that impoverished nomads who were forced to settle in peri-urban and disadvantaged areas of Nouakchott have been included in the research. Among these, health is perceived to be linked to bad housing conditions and lack of financial means. Findings also evidence the role of family and tribal networks in terms of support.