Indigenous tools of capturing knowledge: Trachoma Bead System

Schola W Ndugo, AMREF

Existing knowledge systems have often not recognized indigenous knowledge as an asset towards the development process in Africa. African communities use various cultural elements to articulate identity and position within their societies. AMREF implements Trachoma Prevention and Control Project in Kajiado; inhabited by nomadic communities which are largely illiterate and strongly identifies with beads; hence use of beads as innovative and cost-effective method to monitor trachoma trend. Three colours are used for trachoma surveillance; Red for active trachoma, Blue for inactive and White for unexamined household members. Number of beads used represents number of persons living in a boma. Community’s use of beads in data management and in control of trachoma has reduced prevalence from 46% in 2003 to 16% in 2006. There is need to acknowledge and utilize indigenous knowledge as a powerful resource owned by communities in contributing to strengthening sustainability mechanisms for health and development in Africa.

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Presented in Poster Session 3