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Traditional birth attendant training and local birthing practices in India


  • Saravanan, Sheela
  • Turrell, Gavin
  • Johnson, Helen
  • Fraser, Jenny
  • Patterson, Carla


Training birth attendants (TBAs) provide essential maternal and infant health care services during delivery and ongoing community care in developing countries. Despite inadequate evidence of relevance and effectiveness of TBA training programmes, there has been a policy shift since the 1990s in that many donor agencies funding TBA training programmes redirected funds to providing skilled attendants during delivery. This study aimed to assess the ways in which a TBA training programme in India has been successful in disseminating evidence-based knowledge on birthing practices. TBAs practicing within 16 villages targeted by training programme initiatives were administered with structured questionnaires. The post training birthing practices of trained (24) and untrained (14) TBAs was compared and birthing practices adopted by women assisted by trained (16) and untrained (9) TBAs was analysed. Positive post training practices were hand washing, use of a clean blade for cutting the cord, immediate breastfeeding and weighing of babies. Nevertheless, the training could be further improved with up to date and evidence-based information and more comprehensive instructions. The findings suggest an integration of local and evidence-based knowledge is needed to improve the training. Raising community awareness of public health measures related to maternal and child health is also recommended.

Suggested Citation

  • Saravanan, Sheela & Turrell, Gavin & Johnson, Helen & Fraser, Jenny & Patterson, Carla, 2011. "Traditional birth attendant training and local birthing practices in India," Evaluation and Program Planning, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 254-265, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:epplan:v:34:y:2011:i:3:p:254-265

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Prendiville, Noreen, 1998. "The role and effectiveness of traditional birth attendants in Somalia," Evaluation and Program Planning, Elsevier, vol. 21(4), pages 353-361, November.
    2. Sibley, Lynn & Sipe, Theresa Ann & Koblinsky, Marge, 2004. "Does traditional birth attendant training improve referral of women with obstetric complications: a review of the evidence," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 59(8), pages 1757-1768, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Prata, Ndola & Quaiyum, Md. Abdul & Passano, Paige & Bell, Suzanne & Bohl, Daniel D. & Hossain, Shahed & Azmi, Ashrafi Jahan & Begum, Mohsina, 2012. "Training traditional birth attendants to use misoprostol and an absorbent delivery mat in home births," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 75(11), pages 2021-2027.


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