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    Rapid anthropologic assessment: applications to the measurement of maternal and child mortality, morbidity and health care.

    Scrimshaw SC

    [Unpublished] 1991. Presented at the International Union for the Scientific Study of Population [IUSSP] Committee on Population and Health and Cairo University Institute of Statistical Studies and Research, Center for Applied Demography Seminar on Measurement of Maternal and Child Mortality, Morbidity and Health Care: Interdisciplinary Approaches, Cairo, Egypt, November 4-7, 1991. 14 p.

    University Nations University (UNU) leaders requested rapid anthropological assessment procedures (RAP) guidelines in the early 1980s to examine health-seeking behavior in 16 developing countries. They were not content with the expense, time, and poor accuracy of standard survey techniques to study health care. UNU project researchers studies 42 communities in these countries. They used triangulation to assess the validity of their data and found the data to be accurate. RAP involves applied medical anthropologists and other social scientists with appropriate training to pass about 6 weeks in a community where a supposed effective primary health care (PHC) programs operates to learn the household and community perspective on PHC services. 6 weeks constitute a long time for health planners and policymakers, but for anthropologists this time period tends to be too. Yet the required time hinges on the amount and complexity of data needed. It is important that the anthropologists and/or other social scientists already know the language and the culture because they interview biomedical and indigenous health providers. RAP depends on limited objectives and on existing data and prior research. Research designers should modify the limited objectives or data collection guidelines to fit each culture and each project. RAP data collection techniques include formal and informal interviews, conversations, observation, participant observation, focus groups, and data collection from secondary sources. Indeed researchers should be able to adapt these various techniques during the project. Obstacles which RAP research designers must consider are: some anthropologists do not feel at ease with RAP; not all cultures are comfortable with an outsider coming into their community asking questions, thus highlighting the importance of using an anthropologist already known and trusted in the community; and the topic may not be appropriate for discussion in a community.
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