A stakeholder analysis of the idea of a community-based obstetrical technician cadre in Haiti to replace aging traditional birth attendants
Frederic, Jean Marie David Rikerdy
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University of Washington Abstract A stakeholder analysis of the idea of a community-based obstetrical technician cadre in Haiti to replace aging traditional birth attendants Jean Marie David Rikerdy Frederic Chair of the Supervisory Committee: MD, MPH Scott Barnhart Stephen Gloyd Background Haiti has the highest maternal mortality ratio in the Latin American and Caribbean region at 380 per 100,000. While a high percentage of women seek prenatal care, a majority (64%) deliver at home with traditional birth attendants (TBAs). In this study, we sought to: 1) assess the views of men and women of reproductive age in the health district of Jérémie regarding risk factors for adverse maternal outcomes during the perinatal period, and solicit opinions about whether a proposed Community Obstetric Technician (COT), trained to assist at routine home deliveries and refer complications, would be an effective intervention; and 2) to assess the acceptability to TBAs, community leaders and policy makers of a program to train the literate children of TBAs or other literate community members to become COTs. Methods We conducted four focus groups and 38 semi-structured interviews across seven different subgroups: women and men of reproductive age; women who recently delivered at the regional hospital; TBAs; Ministry of Health policy makers; community leaders; literate children of TBAs; and other literate young people in the community. Results Participants cited distance and costs as the main barriers to delivering in the hospital. They expressed a desire for more skilled birth attendants in their community. TBAs welcomed the idea of more highly trained community-based provider. TBAs and community members were receptive to the idea of TBAs’ children being trained to serve in this role. Ministry of Health participants described an underfunded health system with staffing needs at all levels. They recognized a need for more community-based services, but favored current strategies (focusing on strengthening institutional services) and noted limited resources. Conclusions A community obstetric technician is an acceptable option for women in this region. Policy considerations include placement of COTs in areas furthest away from health facilities; identification of COT candidates from the communities where they are needed; provision of COT services for free or on a sliding scale; and integration of COTs into the existing health system. The Ministry of Health should consider how to address a need for skilled community-based personnel and a referral system to higher-level facilities.
- Global health