Presentation Title

An examination of traditional birth attendant's attitudes, challenges, and medical paradigms in rural Tanzania

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Ann Kakaliouras

Start Date

17-11-2018 3:00 PM

End Date

17-11-2018 5:00 PM

Location

CREVELING 1

Session

POSTER 3

Type of Presentation

Poster

Subject Area

behavioral_social_sciences

Abstract

Global health initiatives are framed around improving the availability and accessibility of biomedical treatment. However, this paradigm of health promotion has effectively imposed the Western, biomedical model onto historically subjugated global communities. Specifically, maternal and infant health have been identified by several international institutions—including the United Nations, World Health Organization, and Saving Mothers Initiative—as critical global health interventions, bringing the topic of midwifery and maternal medicine to the fulcrum of global health discussions. This study aims to examine the attitudes, challenges, and perspectives of local traditional birth attendants (TBAs) in rural Tanzania through engagement with the Foundation for African Medicine and Education. Traditional birth attendants were created by the World Health Organization in 1985 with the goal of utilizing preexisting indigenous midwives to combat maternal and infant mortality. TBAs, therefore, are radically universalized international figures implemented through the promotion of local practice in developing countries. Through surveys and interviews with regional TBAs and Tanzanian biomedical professionals, this study deconstructs preconceived notions of what constitutes quality care by analyzing their attitudes towards national and international policy, Western biomedicine, and Tanzanian dawa zakienyeji (traditional medicine). By attempting to understand these perspectives, postcolonial global health organizations including FAME can engage in ethical progress that is framed around the perspectives of the communities involved, rather than projecting neocolonial ideologies onto indigenous populations and others.

Summary of research results to be presented

The results of this study are primarily founded upon analysis of a qualitative survey and in-depth interviews with traditional birth attendants (TBAs), Tanzanian medical practitioners, and international medical volunteers at FAME. These responses first denoted the traditional birth attendant’s relationship todawa zakienyeji, which translates to traditional medicine or witchcraft: these practices are illegal in Tanzania, though they are widely practiced. This led to a overwhelming sense of secrecy within the results of this survey, where many TBAs reported no relationship with dawa zakienyeji due to our affiliation with the Western, allopathic community despite common TBA practices. This concept followed to the survey’s results on their perception of Western biomedicine, where individuals promoted and encouraged continuing engagement with the biomedical community. Despite the inherent bias toward avoiding governmental confrontations, the results of this survey give light to the current paradigms of TBAs in rural Tanzania. Finally, this study aimed to understand the primary challenges encountered by regional TBAs, which included lack of education, lack of resources, difficulties in transportation, and a distrust toward the biomedical community.

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Nov 17th, 3:00 PM Nov 17th, 5:00 PM

An examination of traditional birth attendant's attitudes, challenges, and medical paradigms in rural Tanzania

CREVELING 1

Global health initiatives are framed around improving the availability and accessibility of biomedical treatment. However, this paradigm of health promotion has effectively imposed the Western, biomedical model onto historically subjugated global communities. Specifically, maternal and infant health have been identified by several international institutions—including the United Nations, World Health Organization, and Saving Mothers Initiative—as critical global health interventions, bringing the topic of midwifery and maternal medicine to the fulcrum of global health discussions. This study aims to examine the attitudes, challenges, and perspectives of local traditional birth attendants (TBAs) in rural Tanzania through engagement with the Foundation for African Medicine and Education. Traditional birth attendants were created by the World Health Organization in 1985 with the goal of utilizing preexisting indigenous midwives to combat maternal and infant mortality. TBAs, therefore, are radically universalized international figures implemented through the promotion of local practice in developing countries. Through surveys and interviews with regional TBAs and Tanzanian biomedical professionals, this study deconstructs preconceived notions of what constitutes quality care by analyzing their attitudes towards national and international policy, Western biomedicine, and Tanzanian dawa zakienyeji (traditional medicine). By attempting to understand these perspectives, postcolonial global health organizations including FAME can engage in ethical progress that is framed around the perspectives of the communities involved, rather than projecting neocolonial ideologies onto indigenous populations and others.