Regular ArticleKnowledge, attitudes and practices of trained traditional birth attendants in the Gambia in the prevention, recognition and management of postpartum haemorrhage
Review articleOpen access

AbstractObjectives: to assess the knowledge, attitudes, practices and the potential role of trained Gambian traditional birth attendants (TBAs) in the prevention, recognition and management of postpartum haemorrhage (PPH).Design: a qualitative, reflective approach using semi-structured interviews followed by group discussions.Setting: poorly-resourced rural villages in The Gambia, West Africa.Participants: 22 trained TBAs and their supervisors from 12 villages.Findings: the TBAs recognised complications such as retained placenta and excessive blood loss and were well aware of the need to refer these women to a health facility quickly. Delay in referral was often due to late call-out of the TBA or lack of transport. Although the TBAs did not know the causes of excessive blood loss, they knew that anaemia was a risk factor for dying from PPH. The TBAs were keen to improve their knowledge and to participate in further training.Key conclusions: although all the TBAs were illiterate, information from training programmes had usually been incorporated into their knowledge and practice. While the local infrastructure remains poor, home deliveries and delayed referrals will continue and interventions for PPH need to be effective at the site of delivery i.e. in the woman's home. These Gambian TBAs have the potential to contribute to the management of PPH in these situations.Implications for practice: these Gambian TBAs could be trained to implement other practices relevant to prevention of PPH in the primary care setting. Linking together and maximising the skills of all health workers is important to reduce PPH mortality in home births in this setting.

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