Practices of traditional birth attendants in Machakos District, kenya

J Ethnopharmacol. 2011 Sep 1;137(1):495-502. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2011.05.044. Epub 2011 Jun 6.


Ethnopharmacological relevance: The aim of the study was to document TBAs practices as well as the indigenous herbal remedies they use to manage pre, intra and post partum complications in a rural Kenyan community.

Materials and methods: A cross sectional study was conducted on practicing TBAs and their clients living in the study area. Data was collected using structured questionnaires and interviews. Focused group discussions were held with the TBAs to supplement the interviews and questionnaire survey.

Results: Two hundred TBAs and 20 clients were interviewed. The majority of the TBAs were females 75% of them having attended to over 200 pregnant women over a period of 5 years and above compared to only 6% of the males. A total of 10 pregnancy related complications and symptoms including threatened abortion, labor complications, post partum hemorrhage and retained after birth were recorded. Fifty five plant species most of them belonging to Euphorbiaceae family were identified for the management of the complications.

Conclusion: Traditional Birth Attendants still have a role to play in assisting pregnant women in rural communities. Their knowledge on herbal medicines is equally important and should be preserved for posterity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Blacks
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Cultural Characteristics
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Folklore
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Kenya / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Medicine, African Traditional*
  • Middle Aged
  • Midwifery*
  • Plant Preparations / therapeutic use*
  • Plants, Medicinal
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / drug therapy*
  • Pregnancy Complications / ethnology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Plant Preparations