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Authors

  1. Sacks, Emma PhD, BA
  2. Bailey, Joanne Motino PhD, CNM, FNP
  3. Robles, Chayla BA, RN, BSN
  4. Low, Lisa Kane PhD, CNM, FACNM

Abstract

Traditional birth attendants (TBAs) have limited ability to reduce maternal mortality, but may be able to have a significant impact on neonatal survival. This qualitative study explores TBAs' (possessive) experience with neonatal care in a rural Honduran community. In 6 semistructured focus groups, TBAs described services they routinely provide to newborns. Using Atlas.ti, Version 6.0. (ATLAS.ti Scientific Software Development GmbH, University of Berlin), transcripts were coded by bilingual researchers and analyzed by thematic content. TBAs demonstrated limited knowledge of newborn physiology, yet were aware of many internationally recommended practices. Despite attempts to follow recommendations, all TBAs expressed difficulty due to resource constraints. TBAs were strong advocates of immediate breast-feeding and skin-to-skin care, but they did not demonstrate knowledge regarding delayed bathing and thermal care. Most TBAs stated that a sick neonate could be identified immediately at birth; thus, infections or other illnesses developed in later days may be missed. TBAs did not believe they could have averted neonatal complications or deaths that had occurred under their care. For most healthy newborns, TBAs are the primary providers until the 2-month vaccine visit at the healthcare clinic. Improved TBA training focused on infection symptomotology, physiology, and thermoregulation for newborns may increase opportunities for improved health and timely referrals to healthcare facilities.