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The Hidden Contribution of Traditional Birth Attendants in Central and South West, Uganda


“Traditional Birth Attendant” is a term assigned to women who assist in labor and delivery care using traditional methods, usually without authorized health care licensing or regulated trainings. While the practices of these women have often been documented for the purpose of historical or anthropological research, this study aims to document the modern day contribution of these women in the Ugandan women’s healthcare system. This study uses in-depth interviews and group counseling sessions with currently practicing Traditional Birth Attendants and is supplemented with data from the 2011 and 2016 Uganda Demographic Health Surveys. Analysis of these interviews yielded six primary themes, which are: training/introduction to the practice, prenatal care, postnatal care, traditional family planning/medicinal herb use, relationship counseling, benefits and challenges of the profession, and labia pulling. These findings provide evidence for policy reform that would allow Traditional Birth Attendants to support their communities as maternal and child health advocate.

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