Ethnomedical systems generally base classification of health problems on signs and symptoms. This does not mean that there is no attention paid to etiology. All explanatory models include concepts of cause, source, and course, as well as palliative and curative treatment, of health problems.1 However, numerous studies have demonstrated that folk systems focus on the personal experience of the disease and that this experience is strongly symptom-based. While the frequency, number, and quantity of liquid stools that define a case of diarrhea may vary from one culture to another, all three signs are generally key criteria for folk diagnosis and classification of diarrheal disease.
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