Indigenous Communication's Role in Traditional Birth Attendants in Maternal Health Practices: A Selective Examination of Empirical Studies in Nigeria

Indigenous Communication's Role in Traditional Birth Attendants in Maternal Health Practices: A Selective Examination of Empirical Studies in Nigeria

Kehinde Opeyemi Oyesomi, Toluwanimi Onakoya, Kevin Onyenankeya, Ayobami Busari
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-2091-8.ch001
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Indigenous communication is an indispensable medium of communication in the socio-cultural tradition of Africans. These systems have been used to promote co-operation, mobilization, and participation among African people. This chapter takes into account indigenous communication roles of traditional birth attendants in maternal wellbeing and maternal health practices during pregnancy and childbirth in both Nigerian and South African communities. The significant motivation behind the examination is to assess the indigenous communication role of traditional birth attendants in maternal health practices in the two nations through empirical studies. After careful review of the studies, it is shown and discovered that TBAs in both Nigeria and South Africa assist pregnant women based on their religious or traditional beliefs. The researchers therefore recommend that health professionals should train TBAs in modern maternal health practices. This will go a long way to help them know their restrictions and possibly refer mothers and their children for emergency services and attention as needed.
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In contemporary years, there has been growing discussion over the expediency of Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs) in maternal health practices. Critics of Traditional Birth Attendants are of the opinion that TBAs have done little to advance maternal health practices because of the orthodox way of practicing maternal health which is not safe for the mother and the child and this is believed to have frustrated the efforts made by maternal health advocates to reduce maternal mortality. Supporters of Traditional Birth Attendants on the other hand, have articulated the importance for a continuous partnership with Traditional Birth Attendants as a tactic and approach to improve access to essential maternity health care in rural areas specially to achieve momentous decrease in maternal mortality.

Maternal mortality is high in most African nations, especially in areas where access to formal human services is constrained. This builds the danger of mortality for both mother and kid with extreme maternal and neonatal wellbeing entanglements. Physical separation and monetary impediments are two noteworthy imperatives that keep network individuals from getting to, utilizing prepared health institutional and services (Mfrekemfon & Okere, 2015).

Indigenous communication assumes a gigantic part in maternal health practices, particularly in the rustic regions of Africa where indigenous communication methods are still to a great extent utilized. As Oyesomi, Salawu and Olorunyomi (2017) note that the traditional media system is people-oriented. Since indigenous communication are rooted in the culture of the people and traditional birth attendants are basically in such communities, the paper examined the role played by traditional birth attendants in maternal health care practices through selective examination of empirical studies in both South Africa and Nigeria.

Traditional Birth Attendants and Maternal Health Practices

There are two basic groups that help and care for women during pregnancy, childbirth and post-childbirth; Skilled Birth Attendants (SBAs) and Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs) (Lindsey, 2016). A skilled birth attendant

…is an accredited health professional—such as a midwife, doctor, or nurse—who has been educated and trained to proficiency in the skills needed to manage normal (uncomplicated) pregnancies, childbirth and the immediate postnatal period, and in the identification, management and referral of complications in women and new norms. (WHO, 2004).

Since the reception of the Primary Health Care (PHC) approach in Nigeria in 1979, government has perceived the requirement for coordinating traditional birth specialists (TBAs) into the PHC framework and had thus started TBAs preparing programs (Ofili & Okojie, 2005). Women are bound to use SBA with the accessibility of skilled staff, reinforcing of the wellbeing framework and with affordable charges for maternal wellbeing administrations (Adewemimo, Msuya, Olaniyan & Adegoke, 2013). The lack of skilled birth workers has been recognized as a central point in charge of the rising maternal and baby death rate. There is adequate proof that traditional birth specialist gave maternal medicinal services has adverse effects maternal wellbeing (Unyime, Idongesit & Akpabio, 2016).

However, Traditional birth attendants were known to aid women in childbirth before the arrival of progressive medicine. They helped women with pregnancy care, during labour and with postnatal processes (PATH, 2010). Most traditional birth attendants are matured women who are generally accepted by the community and are known for their skills in home delivery (Makoe, 2000; Abdulhamid, Lawal, Tahir, Harande, & Usman, 2017).

Most Traditional Birth Attendants speak the same language with the women they attend to. As Omojola, Odiboh, & Amodu, 2018, Oyero, Oyesomi, Abioye, Ajiboye & Kayode Adedeji 2018, Folayan, et al. 2018, Oyesomi & Salawu, 2019, Oyesomi, Salawu, & Onyenankeya, 2019 note that the language of communication is critical in conveying messages to the people. Various research works have endeavored to determine the indigenous role of TBA’s have in communities and to determine if they can reduce the mortality rate of pregnant women and mothers. ‘There are several literatures expansively discussing the importance of the TBAs and their effect thereof. This empirical study examined the role played by TBAs in Maternal Health Practices in Nigeria and South Africa.

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