Speaker: Fiona Marlow
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Have we thrown the baby out with the bath water? In the 1990’s the training of traditional midwives (TBA) in western practices constituted one development intervention undertaken to reduce maternal mortality in developing countries throughout Africa and South Asia (WHO, 1990 ). This strategy was largely abandoned, based on limited evidence of a reduction in maternal mortality (Saravanan, Johnson, Turrell, & Fraser, 2009). Over 50% of women in the developing world receive their care from a TBA, one who is known to her, trusted and provides continuity of care. However the involvement of the TBA in maternity care continues to be framed as a problem from a biomedical perspective rather than a benefit as it is seen by many women (Niehof, 2014). Can a better understanding of the practices of traditional midwives support the care women receive in remote and rural areas where there is no or limited access to emergency obstetric care?