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The field of maternal health is rife with literature discussing models for the reduction of maternal mortality rates, specifically in developing countries where the burden is often greatest. However, few studies consider the perspectives of those who they impact: the women. Here, I focus specifically on models for the use of traditional birth attendants, long considered the cornerstone of maternal healthcare for women in rural areas. The female and traditional birth attendant perspective is critically examined in comparison to these models in order to find solutions which both improve the state of maternal healthcare for rural women as well as respect their agency, and situation. In doing so, it was found that, while the majority of women prefer to give birth at a hospital, a significant amount continue to give birth at home due to preference, a lack of transportation or funding or a sudden delivery. In these situations, a traditional birth attendant is the preferred delivery attendant. Additionally, women prefer a traditional birth attendant who has received formal training or collaborates with the local medical facility. From these findings, the proposed model for traditional birth attendant implementation in rural Tanzania includes the deployment of non-physician surgical technicians in villages, the training of traditional birth attendants and the distribution of clean delivery kits as well as long-term change to structural barriers to care and harmful beliefs which reinforce marginality.


$400 Research Thing Prize Recipient

Class: Social Science Research Methods