THE ‘MALINDI LESSONS’ – DAY 2

Lets connect from where we left from the first article of the Malindi Lessons. We’re in day 2 of the Fetoscope Team’s field study and we got new experiences and lessons for you. Enjoy the ride!

Interview with traditional birth attendants

The team starts the day by interviewing the traditional birth attendants. All they want to know is the experience of the birth attendants in helping mothers deliver children the traditional way.

The ‘Fetoscope Team’ interviewing a Traditional Birth Attendant in Malindi, Kilifi County.

Most traditional birth attendants recognize fetoscopes since they have encountered them during their quarterly training at their regional mission hospitals. They however can’t afford the fetoscope so they mostly rely on palpation using their hands on the pregnant women to determine fetal health status. They use massage to realign the fetus in case of complications. They were willing and desire to use fetoscopes if provided.

The Lessons.

  • Most Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs) cannot afford the fetoscope because they are extremely poor.
  • Occasionally, the working conditions by the TBAs can be unsanitary since they offer their services at homes.
  • Their quarterly meetings involve sensitization on referring pregnant women to hospital for antennal care and dangers of home deliveries.
  • The attendants are integrated into the health system, after training, to improve maternal health services.

The Story of a Local Chief.

A local chief in Malindi talking to the Fellows during their field study

The local chief has only seen the fetoscope when bringing in his wife to the clinic when her pregnancy was due to delivery. Otherwise, he only sees the equipment being used for training on traditional birth attendants. He holds a negative view of traditional birth attendants because he considers them unsanitary and unsafe. He is of the view that equipment and training should be availed to traditional birth attendants (since they can’t be ridden off) to make safe antenatal care and home deliveries. Ironically, despite his views, he only recounts one death in the hands of TBAs in the local region throughout his entire term. He acknowledges campaigns to phase out TBAs in the community through drives to sensitize mothers to prefer hospitals.

Boom! The team is done with the field study and objectives met. It’s now time to go home, brief the client, and work on the prototype of the enhanced fetoscope.

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