Birthing practices of traditional birth attendants in South Asia in the context of training programmes

Saravanan, Sheela, Turrell, Gavin, Johnson, Helen and Fraser, Jennifer (2010) Birthing practices of traditional birth attendants in South Asia in the context of training programmes. Journal of Health Management, 12 2: 93-121. doi:10.1177/097206341001200201

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Author Saravanan, Sheela
Turrell, Gavin
Johnson, Helen
Fraser, Jennifer
Title Birthing practices of traditional birth attendants in South Asia in the context of training programmes
Journal name Journal of Health Management   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0972-0634
Publication date 2010-06
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1177/097206341001200201
Volume 12
Issue 2
Start page 93
End page 121
Total pages 29
Place of publication New Delhi, India
Publisher Sage Publications India
Collection year 2011
Language eng
Subject C1
111708 Health and Community Services
111799 Public Health and Health Services not elsewhere classified
9202 Health and Support Services
920299 Health and Support Services not elsewhere classified
970111 Expanding Knowledge in the Medical and Health Sciences
Abstract Traditional Birth Attendants (TBA) training has been an important component of public health policy interventions to improve maternal and child health in developing countries since the 1970s. More recently, since the 1990s, the TBA training strategy has been increasingly seen as irrelevant, ineffective or, on the whole, a failure due to evidence that the maternal mortality rate (MMR) in developing countries had not reduced. Although, worldwide data show that, by choice or out of necessity, 47 percent of births in the developing world are assisted by TBAs and/or family members, funding for TBA training has been reduced and moved to providing skilled birth attendants for all births. Any shift in policy needs to be supported by appropriate evidence on TBA roles in providing maternal and infant health care service and effectiveness of the training programmes. This article reviews literature on the characteristics and role of TBAs in South Asia with an emphasis on India. The aim was to assess the contribution of TBAs in providing maternal and infant health care service at different stages of pregnancy and after-delivery and birthing practices adopted in home births. The review of role revealed that apart from TBAs, there are various other people in the community also involved in making decisions about the welfare and health of the birthing mother and new born baby. However, TBAs have changing, localised but nonetheless significant roles in delivery, postnatal and infant care in India. Certain traditional birthing practices such as bathing babies immediately after birth, not weighing babies after birth and not feeding with colostrum are adopted in home births as well as health institutions in India. There is therefore a thin precarious balance between the application of biomedical and traditional knowledge. Customary rituals and perceptions essentially affect practices in home and institutional births and hence training of TBAs need to be implemented in conjunction with community awareness programmes.
Keyword Birthing
Traditional birth attendants
South Asia
Training programmes
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2011 Collection
School of Social Science Publications
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Citation counts: Scopus Citation Count Cited 6 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Fri, 13 Aug 2010, 15:04:17 EST by Debbie Lim on behalf of School of Social Science