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Citation Information

Type Journal Article - Revista Panamericana de Salud Publica
Title Obstetric complications: does training traditional birth attendants make a difference?
Volume 11
Issue 1
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2002
Page numbers 15-15
URL http://www.scielosp.org/scielo.php?pid=S1020-49892002000100003&script=sci_arttext
Objective. To assess the effect that a training intervention for traditional birth attendants (TBAs) in Guatemala had on the detection of obstetric complications, the referral of patients with complications to the formal health care system, and, ultimately, those patients' utilization of essential obstetric care services.
Methods. Using a quasi-experimental design, a surveillance system of births was implemented to collect population-based information from 3 518 women between 1990 and 1993. All women were interviewed postpartum by physicians. There were three key independent variables in our study: 1) geographical area (intervention community and non-intervention community), 2) time in relation to the training intervention (before or after), and 3) presence or absence of a TBA at the time of the complication. The key dependent variables for women interviewed were 1) development of an obstetric complication, 2) detection of the problem by the TBA, 3) referral to a health facility, 4) compliance with referral, and 5) use of services.
Results. The incidence of postpartum complications decreased after the intervention, controlling for intervention community. On the other hand, after the intervention TBAs were less likely to recognize most maternal complications, and referral rates did not increase significantly. The likelihood of using health care services increased six-fold among women who were not attended by TBAs, and no increase was observed among those who were attended by TBAs.
Conclusion. Training TBAs may have had a positive effect on the rate, detection, and referral of postpartum complications. However, the evidence is less convincing for overall increases in the detection of complications, in referral to the formal health care system, and in the utilization of essential obstetric services among women attended by TBAs.

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