The persistence and challenges of homebirths: perspectives of traditional birth attendants in urban Kenya

Health Policy Plan. 2009 Jan;24(1):36-45. doi: 10.1093/heapol/czn042. Epub 2008 Nov 25.


Through an analysis of focus group discussion data, we examine Kenyan traditional birth attendants' (TBAs) accounts of the persistence of homebirths and the key challenges they present. TBAs associated the continued demand for homebirths with the wide-ranging character and quality of their services. They did not consider their lack of formal training on matters of pregnancy and birthing to be a particular challenge to their work. Rather, they identified the non-cooperative and disrespectful attitudes of their counterparts in hospital settings as the most important issue. Further efforts are needed to make TBAs realize how much better their services could become if they adopted more modern ways of assisting in deliveries, unlearnt their belief in the superiority of their particular type of practice, and understood how their lack of formal training is a key issue.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Delivery, Obstetric
  • Female
  • Home Childbirth*
  • Humans
  • Kenya
  • Midwifery*
  • Pregnancy
  • Urban Population*