- On February 16, 2015
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The preference for Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs) to trained nurses in communities in and around Ada West District has become a source of concern to health authorities in the district.
The question is why pregnant women from communities such as Luhuor, Hwakpo, Salom, Amuyaokope, Ada Luta, Madavunu, Toflokpo and Sege among others would visit the health facility in most cases at the onset of their pregnancy but prefer that their babies are delivered by the assistance of TBAs?
At a recent Cordaid sponsored forum, an initiative of SEND-GHANA, facilitated by Ayongo Foundation, a Focal Non-Governmental Organisation, which brought together some TBAs and Nurses in the district to discuss role of TBAs and Community Health Volunteers (CHVs) and challenges they face, many reasons were offered as the bases for the preference.
According to Irene Efo, a Public Health Nurse at Sege Health Centre, statistics show that nearly all the children born around these areas are delivered by the TBAs.
Attributing the situation to several challenges, she mentioned that, most communities are located in the remote part of the district where transportation is a big issue. This makes it difficult for pregnant women to trek long distances to access ante-natal services.
Furthermore, “some members of communities in the catchment area complain about the negative attitude of our nurses.
It is a general belief that, TBAs have convinced communities to accept that, nurses have two eyes and cannot see beyond the ordinary. But they (TBAs) have a third eye.” Meaning, delivery by TBA is done with the assistance of the super natural power which the nurses do not have. She added.
Mrs. Efo therefore appealed to the TBAs, to also allow the health facility to deliver babies. “If you deliver two, allow us to also deliver one.”
At the meeting, the TBAs were unsure whether the Ghana Health Service (GHS) directive barring them from going on with their work is still in force.
Adabam Borbor is a Toflokpo community based Traditional Birth Attendant with more than 20 years of experience. He says, he always inspects the hospital pregnancy booklet of his patients before attending to them. “We were asked to stop work but now you are seeking collaboration with us to deliver babies. So where do we stand’
The TBAs felt frustrated because due to the directive they no more benefit from training and logistical support from the GHS.
Mrs. Efo explained that, some TBAs do not operate professionally resulting in needless deaths and that explains why government decided to phase them out of the health system in spite of the training they had received.
She urged them to always quickly refer patients they cannot handle to the health facility.
Mrs. Efo also reminded Community Health Volunteers of their roles. They were urged to register all pregnant women and new born babies so that they can notify the health facility of any situation that may arise.
The Ada West District has no district hospital and therefore the Sege Health Centre, refer serious cases to Battor Hospital in the Volta Region or Kasseh in the Ada East District.