In Nigeria, TBAs still have a large impact on the health of the mother and child even in this modern life, as the introduction of modern health services has not eradicate the function that they serve, especially in rural areas. It has been customary for the expectant mother to register with a local TBA to facilitate easy birth, and to avoid Illegal fees, bribes, unreliable transport and un-cooperative drivers; poor and uncomfortable roads; lack of drugs and essential supplies, and negative staff attitudes.
Recently, one of the functions of TBAs was to facilitate female genital mutilation, FGM.
Traditional birth attendant (TBA) as a person who assists the moth er at childbirth and who initially acquired her skills delivering babies by herself or by working with other birth attendants.
Where There Is No Doctor
In Lagos state a mother of four who claimed anonymity has advised the government to furnish TBAs who are also known as traditional midwives (TMs), with latest information about health and how to use hygienic tools for the birthing process. Her argument was that people are not ready to leave what they believe is their tradition. She also emphasized:
''… that the users and non users of native doctors would not like them to be banned because of the importance of their role in Nigerian rural life where there is no doctor - as we know that the importance of health is huge.''
A Healthy Nation is a Wealthy Nation
If we go by the 2005 report on maternal mortality released jointly by WHO, UNICEF,
TBAs occupy a prominent position in Nigeria today as between 60-85 per cent of births delivered in the country and especially in the rural communi ties are by the TBAs.
Another TBA (to remain unnamed) in Ayetoro, Yewa North of Ogun State, has said that their association is ready to cooperate with government if the later is ready to assist the TBAs in training courses and not to prohibit their activities. He also emphasized that many TBAs are do their job well, and needed to be respected as literates because literacy is not only about holding degrees, but it is also about being perfect in your field.
''Most of my patients are women who are very poor and might be under nourished, so they cannot afford expensive medical care. But I do a good job using herbs and I have been trying my best to make people stop female genital mutilation," he said.
Reconstructive surgery is known to be remedy to 90 percent of uncomplicated cases in Nigeria but the surgery requires trained staff and professionalism. The average cost of treatment and two weeks of post-operative care is $300 -- a fortune for most women in developing countries.
Chief Bisi Omidusy, vice-chair of a group of birth attendants .
ReferencesAdesina, S.K. Traditional Medical Care in Nigeria
Related Links:UNFPA Support to Traditional Birth Attendants
W.H.O. Global Action for Skilled Attendants for Pregnant Women