There are Not Enough: The Banning of Traditional Birth Attendants in Zambia Public Deposited

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Last Modified
  • May 14, 2019
  • Fox, Tyler
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Anthropology
  • There are currently health policies being passed in countries around the world aiming to ban traditional birth attendants from delivering. The World Health Organization associated TBAs with increasing global maternal mortality ratios – specifically in the global south – due to their lack of knowledge and education surrounding birth complications (Kruske and Barclay 2004:307).One country which banned traditional birth attendants as a response to high maternal mortality ratios was Zambia. According to the World Health Organization, the current maternal mortality ratio (MMR) in Zambia is 224 deaths per 100,000 live births (World Health Organization 2015). The ratio has declined significantly since 1990, where the MMR was 577 deaths per 100,000 live births (World Health Organization 2011). These reductions can be contributed, at least in part, to the use of midwives and traditional birth attendants. However, the Zambian Ministry of Health decided to cut all funding for traditional birth attendant training programs and bar the maternal health attendants from delivering mothers at home in 2010. I am interested to see the role TBAs and midwives have played in combatting the maternal mortality ratio in Zambia and how this role has changed since the health policy passed in 2010. I am specifically interested in understanding the traditional birth attendants and midwives’ perspective on their changing roles in society as a result of a reproductive policy change in the country.
Date of publication
Resource type
  • Daniels, Robert
  • Bachelor of Arts
Academic concentration
  • Anthropology
Honors level
  • Honors
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Graduation year
  • 2019
  • English

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