Masaka Divided Over Ban on Traditional Birth Attendants

2167 Views Mbale, Eastern Region, Uganda
Women in Masaka are divided on whether or not the services of Traditional Birth Attendants should be banned. While many in the policy sector propose that Traditional Birth Attendants should be banned from operating, the ordinary women who are farmiliar with the TBA services mantain that these services should not be banned. In 2000, Government through the Health Ministry launched a countrywide campaign requiring traditional birth attendants to registrar and get basic training skills on basic clean delivery to prevent postpartum infections. While some districts registered some success stories, Masaka district didn't find the program valid and the authorities there have tabled a proposal seeking a total ban on all services of traditional birth attendants. Margaret Ntambaazi, the Masaka district Senior Nursing officer, the proposed ban stems from the dangers exposed to women who seek assistance from Traditional Birth Attendants. The proposal still under review, describes it as illegal, for any traditional birth attendant to perform any delivery. Ntambaazi explains that Masaka did not register any success in the Government program. She argues that less than 10 out of the 200 traditional birth attendants managed to get some skills. Ntambaazi, who has also been a nursing officer for the last 20years says 16 women die each day in Uganda during pregnancy and explains that most of these women die at the hands of TBAs who cannot handle emergency cases. // Cue in: "when a woman has ..." Cue out: "...with blood."// Resty Lugemwa, a mother of five delivered all her children with the assistance of a traditional birth attendant. She says TBA's are more convenient under an inefficient maternal health system. Kintu Nabulya, argues that banning traditional birth attendants is unrealistic because a big population in rural areas, depends entirely on TBAs. But Enid Mwebaze, the Assistant Commissioner Ministry of Health in charge of Safe Motherhood, says traditional birth attendants are dangerous to mothers adding that government has now turned its focus on sensitizing the youths on the dangers of early pregnancies. Statistics from White Ribbon Alliance, a US based women health and Safe Motherhood organization indicate that 1 in every 25 women die during pregnancy in Uganda, compared to 1 in 8000 women in developed countries.


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