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Training Traditional Birth Attendants

            "Training Traditional Birth Attendants wastes time and resources."" Discuss the arguments for and against this perspective.
             As a result of the 1978 Alma-Ata Conference, the WHO recommended that governments use traditional birth attendants (TBAs) as part of the strategy for providing primary health care (Ebay-Tessendorf 1997:20). Even today, TBAs exist in all the developing countries and deliver two thirds of the world's babies (Lefeber 1997). It is because this is unlikely to change in the near future that investment in training has often been justified as a worthwhile use of time and expense.
             The value of TBA training is controversial. Several programmes to train TBAs have been evaluated in the literature and credible arguments have been made for and against. In this paper I will di will discuss why many of the strategies to train TBAs have not been successful.
             A Look at TBA Training Programmes:.
             According to Kamal (1998:44) more than sixty percent of the population in most developing countries is rural, with very little access to maternity services. Traditional Birth Attendants are often selected by their local communities. They are socially and culturally acceptable and most importantly, they are available. We must not underestimate their value to the communities in which they work. Apart from the tremendous service they provide to women, they often exert considerable influence on local health practices. Therefore, as Pigg (1997) argues, they have the potential to become important allies in organizing efforts to improve the health of the community. She also suggests that the interest in local healers has less to do with their expertise or practice per se, and more to do with the potential that exists to channel their practice towards heath development aims. Various approaches have been implemented under a number of different health projects with the aim of reducing mortality and morbidity in developing countries.

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