WILSON NSIKANABASI UDOFIA
Department of Sociology/Anthropology
University of Uyo
Western/ Biomedical Science describes malaria as a vector-borne infectious disease caused by protozoan parasites and spread by infected anopheles mosquitoes. Studies on malaria in Africa have focused on the causes, prevalence and the socio-environmental aspects of the disease. The cultural meanings of malaria and its possible effects on attitudes towards the disease are largely ignored. All the efforts to fight malaria are based on the western ideas of the disease. This study leaned on Ethno-hermeneutics to study malaria among the Ibibio based on the emic/ etic perspectives. The knowledge of malaria among the people and how they use the inferences drawn from the indigenous theory of meanings to rework reality into attitudes and behavior towards malaria were studied through; Non-participatory observation, In-depth/ Key informant Interviews and Focus Group discussions .This study has established that, the Ibibio cultural perception of malaria runs parallel to the bio-medical ideas with regards to the causation and management of malaria. Most of the people do not believe that malaria is caused by germs and transmitted through mosquito bites so they lean more on the local explanations of its causation. The local knowledge of and beliefs about malaria influence the responses to malaria. Management of malaria is mostly home-based and curative using traditional remedies, leading to the resilience of the disease.