Maternal Health, War, and Religious Tradition: Authoritative Knowledge in Pujehun District, Sierra Leone


Jambai, Amara, and Carol MacCormack. 1996. “Maternal Health, War, and Religious Tradition: Authoritative Knowledge in Pujehun District, Sierra Leone.” Medical Anthropology Quarterly 10 (2): 270–86. doi:10.1525/maq.1996.10.2.02a00090.

Authors: Amara Jambai, Carol MacCormack


In Sierra Leone constraints to ideal maternal health require a primary health care approach that includes collaboration with traditional midwives. They are authoritative figures embedded within local political structures and a powerful women's religion. The local causes of maternal risk are described, including civil war and refugee camp life. Traditional midwives provide vital services in the camp, are respected for their social status, and learn additional skills. Biomedical and traditional systems of authoritative knowledge, based on different kinds of legitimacy to heal, are in a complementary relationship.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Civil Wars, Displacement & Migration, Refugees, Refugee/IDP Camps, Gender, Women, Health, Reproductive Health, Religion Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Sierra Leone

Year: 1996

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