Who is Traditional Birth Attendant?
A traditional birth attendant is defined as a person who assists a mother during child birth and has acquired her skills by delivering babies herself or through apprenticeship to other TBAs. TBAs provide care during pregnancy, child birth and postpartum period.
Role of Traditional Birth Attendants
Main roles of traditional birth attendants on maternal health care in rural areas were identified in this study:
Training & Focus of Work
Traditional birth attendants are often older women, respected in their communities. They consider themselves as private health care practitioners who respond to requests for service. The focus of their work is to assist women during delivery and immediately post-partum. Frequently their assistance includes helping with household chores.
TBAs may not have any formal training on how to attend pregnant women. Many are highly experienced in well woman care including how to recognize and respond appropriately to complications of pregnancy. It is a matter of discussion whether the lack of education in some TBAs and the way many attend deliveries are risky for the mothers and their babies. Evaluating the impact of these traditional practitioners on health outcomes requires taking into consideration additional factors such as poverty, availability of health services, or institutional support.
It is being increasingly recognized that TBAs may have a role to play in improving health outcomes in developing countries because of their access to communities and the relationships they share with women in local communities, especially if women are unable to access skilled care.
Some countries, training institutes and non-governmental agencies are initiating efforts to train TBAs in basic and emergency obstetric care, family planning, and other maternal health topics, in order to enhance the links between modern health care services and the community.