Table 1

Selected local illnesses mentioned by participants

NameDescriptionMentioned by
Fota itokoFebrile syndrome with or without cough, skin rash, anal fissure or diarrhoea. Caused by certain foods eaten by mothers while breastfeeding.Mothers (n=10); fathers (n=7); grandmothers (n=4); traditional healers (n=3); CHW (n=1)
KundeA disease of the breast, causing pain and requiring massage. May present as genital ulcers in the form of warts, found in the mother. This disease can be transmitted to the child during breastfeeding.Mothers (n=6); fathers (n=2); grandmothers (n=2); traditional healers (n=4); CHWs (n=2); nurse (n=1)
Zala na mbangu/kambaStomach troubles in small children. Recognisable when the child defecates, as the faecal matter contains a long white thread.Mother (n=1); father (n=1); traditional healers (n=3)
LonyamaMyoclonic contractions in the children associated with loss of consciousness, convulsions and trembling in arms and legs.Father (n=1); doctor (n=1); traditional healers (n=2)
KafekeRespiratory difficulties associated with cough and fever.Grandmothers (n=2); fathers (n=2); CHW (n=1); traditional healer (n=1)
BibonAbscess, or appearance of a painful mass on any part of the body, often associated with fever.CHW (n=1); traditional healer (n=1)
‘Diminution du sang’Anaemia, paleness, fatigue. At advanced stages, difficulty breathing due likely to low levels of haemoglobin.Mothers (n=2); nurse (n=1)
MakengeSwelling of parotid glands.Mothers (n=4); father (n=1); grandmothers (n=2)
SangaA condition when a breastfeeding mother becomes pregnant, negatively affecting the quality of the breast milk. The breastfed infant becomes malnourished, has diarrhoea or cannot walk until the mother gives birth.Mother (n=1); grandmother (n=1); CHW (n=1); traditional healer (n=1)
LameSmall swelling in the throat.Mothers (n=2); father (n=1); traditional healers (n=3)
‘Maladie de la poitrine’Compression in the child’s chest with localised swelling. The child eats but does not gain weight. If left untreated, it attacks the child’s backbone, sometimes leading to handicap. Often occurs during weaning.Grandmother (n=1); fathers (n=2); mother (n=1); CHW (n=1), traditional healers (n=2)
  • CHW, community health worker.