An Outlawed Profession Gets New Life

According to the 2009 Kenya Demographic Health Survey, 56% of births in Kenya still take place at home. In many cases, women deliver at home with traditional birth attendants. However, since the Kenyan government outlawed home deliveries by traditional birth attendants, many Kenyans—especially those in low income areas—have had to adjust.

The banning comes after the Ministry of Health concluded that home deliveries by traditional birth attendants are a major contributor to maternal deaths. The government indicated that these birth attendants are often ill-equipped to notice danger signs during delivery that could be fatal. Their lack of delivery equipment also increases the possibility of HIV transmission.

While the adjustment has been challenging—both for women used to delivering at home and to the birth attendants who relied on home deliveries for income--some traditional birth attendants are already embracing a different lifestyle. Monica—a traditional birth attendant from 1998 to 2008—has overseen more than 60 deliveries. Though none of her clients ever died in her care, Monica recognizes the broader impact of this practice on maternal and child health. She now works as a companion for pregnant women in her community, linking and encouraging them to visit health facilities.

Monica's change of heart comes as a result of trainings received from the government with the support of Pathfinder's USAID-funded APHIA II project.* She is now a community health worker and an advocate against home delivery. The people in Monica's community trust her and continue to call on her during labor. Monica still answers their calling, but instead of charging for services as a birth attendant, Monica now offers her advice and companionship free of charge. She provides counsel, emphasizes the importance of visiting a health clinic, encourages saving money that may be needed during delivery, and educates women on breastfeeding.

When Monica's neighbor Lydia went into labor, the first person she called was Monica, who quickly got a taxi and accompanied Lydia and her husband to a nearby hospital. There, Lydia was examined and sent back home with a prescription saying that her pains were normal and not a sign of imminent delivery. Unconvinced, Monica told the couple that she would not switch off her phone in case they needed her. As feared, at 4:00am, Lydia's husband called saying that the pains were increasing. Not wanting the woman to deliver her first child at home, Monica rushed them to the hospital again. This time, Lydia was hurried to the delivery room, where she delivered a healthy baby. Since delivery, Monica has been following up to ensure Lydia takes the child for immunizations and breastfeeds exclusively.

Although many women in Kenya still prefer to give birth at home with a traditional birth attendant, encouraging examples like Monica demonstrate the path to change. The more traditional birth attendants that are mobilized, and offered the education to become community health workers, the more comfortable communities will become with changing traditional home birth practices—and the more lives that will be saved as a result.

*APHIA II has now transitioned in a new project known as APHIAplus.

Leave a Comment

* Change

Comments

check out this also psn code generator and a kim kardashian hollywood hack prizee hack
ok October 23, 2014
if anyone wants some great freebies grab a pair of Free Dre Beats and a Free Skype Credit Voucher and for young kids some Free Moshi Monster Membership Codes
topparked October 23, 2014
Imagine a world where all women can access contraception, make decisions about their bodies, stay in school, choose their own partner, start a business, and be equal members of their communities. My hope is that 2012 is just the beginning of a bright, new future for half the world. the original source
support for funding October 23, 2014
There is obviously a lot to know about this. I think you made some good points in Features also best online stock trading
jack89 October 23, 2014
In fact your creative writing abilities has inspired me to start my own BlogEngine blog now best online brokerage
jack89 October 23, 2014
This is such a great information for me, because i do an online job thats why i need fast Internet connection, i search how to bost internet speed then ireach at a right place. home cleaning
jams123 October 21, 2014
I found so many interesting stuff in your blog especially its discussion. CPA boca raton
jack89 October 21, 2014
I strategy to create an content about copper robbery, and I want to know if you have knowledgeable this. seo services
jams123 October 21, 2014
Wow, Nice article. Thanks for it. happy new year greetings 2015, new year 2015 quotes.
Nash October 21, 2014
Although many women in Kenya still prefer to give birth at home with a traditional birth attendant, encouraging examples like Monica demonstrate the path to change Buy real instagram followers
Name October 20, 2014
This is such a great information for me, because i do an online job thats why i need fast Internet connection, i search how to bost internet speed then ireach at a right place. SEO Boca Raton
jams123 October 20, 2014
A very awesome blog post. We are really grateful for your blog post. You will find a lot of approaches after visiting your post. visit this post
Name October 20, 2014
To view the official complete table of contents, please navigate your web browser to the journals website at. six degree flow
jack89 October 20, 2014
Thank you for another great article. Where else could anyone get that kind of information in such a perfect way of writing? I have a presentation next week, and I am on the look for such information. Paula Swanson
alix October 20, 2014
when the opportunity to live a full and balanced life is robbed away from a child by parents six degree flow review
jack89 October 20, 2014
click here for free club penguin membership codes without pay any of cost cp codes
cp codes October 18, 2014
I’m planning to create my own personal blog and would like to know where you got this from or just what the theme is called.good yellowstone recovery
jack89 October 18, 2014
Thanks saw this page bookmarked and very much liked what I read. I will surely bookmark it as well and also go through your other posts tonight. best drug rehab center manistee review
jack89 October 18, 2014
It is so interesting. I want to know some other information about this site. best drug rehab center manistee review
jack89 October 18, 2014
Scroll to top