What you need to know:
- A mother, who requests her identity not to be revealed, calls upon the government to incorporate some of traditional practices into midwifery practice in order to meet the expectations of mothers.
Although the government has banned traditional birth attendants (TBAs) from offering antenatal care related services in their respective localities, the demand for their services among pregnant mothers in Soroti District has still remained high.
Ms Sharon Abio, a 31-year-old mother of three and a resident of Otucopi Ward in East Division, Soroti City, says most expectant mothers visit TBAs during late stages of pregnancy for massage therapy to get relief from stomach muscle strains.
She adds that others are often seeking counselling services after suffering domestic violence.
According to Ms Abio, such services are not offered in health facilities.
“TBAs can massage pregnant mothers to give them relief from stomach muscle strains caused by some abnormal positioning of the foetus in the womb but nurses at the health facilities only check for the heartbeat of the baby,” she says.
Another mother, who requests her identity not to be revealed, calls upon the government to incorporate some of traditional practices into midwifery practice in order to meet the expectations of mothers.
She names some of the traditional practices as massage therapy and physical fitness classes.
She also claims that some mothers shun antenatal care services in health facilities due to harassment.
“Some mothers are given a bad reception when they go to deliver. You find that some nurses are tough and they harass mothers because of the number of children they have produced and some even are not kind enough, if you don’t give a bribe, they will not attend to you in time,” she says.
Ms Joan Akello, a pregnant mother in Majengo Ward, West Division in Soroti City, says TBA services are easy to access since the providers live within the communities.
However, Dr Charles Stephen Okadhi, the Soroti District health officer, warns TBAs against offering any service in relation to antenatal health care.
Dr Okadhi urges TBAs to refer all mothers seeking their services to the health facilities for management by the skilled health workers.
“We don’t expect TBAs to deliver mothers anymore because their role in offering antenatal care services has ceased,” he added.
Dr Okadhi described the need for massage therapy by pregnant women as a myth and a taboo, which does not have any scientific proof.
He claims that the foetus naturally adapts to growth conditions and positions itself properly, pending delivery.
He warns that the practice of TBAs offering massage services by shaking the womb to position the foetus risks detaching it from the placenta.
“Some mothers are given a bad reception when they go to deliver. You find that some nurses are tough and they harass mothers because of the number of children they have produced,” expectant mother