This paper explores the beliefs concerning cause of tuberculosis (TB) in Nalgonda district, Andhra Pradesh (A.P.). Health care professionals primarily attribute TB causation to germs such as bacteria. However, patients with TB described the causation of their disease in multiple ways that differ significantly from that of health professionals. Results indicate that causation beliefs held by TB patients can be grouped into two broad categories: (1) natural and (2) supernatural origin. Despite the tremendous progress made in understanding TB causation, study results demonstrate the continued existence of folk theories of disease causation. For example, attributing TB disease to sin, wrath of deities, witchcraft, evil eye, fate, imbalance in hot-cold qualities in the body, bad blood, etc., are still evident in the study population. The study results also suggest that mind, body, spirit and other issues of social life are interconnected and disruptions in any one aspect can affect the health of an individual. Some of the implications of the findings of study for creating awareness about TB causation and transmission are discussed. The study argues that modern medicine has to engage with socio-cultural beliefs and practices of communities for TB treatment to be effective.
Key words: Hot-cold imbalance, witchcraft, natural origin, evil eye, explanatory model.
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