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Health Care Women Int. 2003 Mar;24(3):177-92.

The clientele of traditional birth homes in rural southeastern Nigeria.

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Department of Sociology/Anthropology, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Uyo, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria, West Africa.


Although it is widely documented that traditional birth homes (TBHs) do more than deliver babies, little is known about the other functions in addition to child delivery, which TBHs perform. Drawing on in-depth individual interviews with 13 traditional birth attendants (TBAs) and 147 users of TBHs, we profile the characteristics and health conditions of the clientele of TBHs in four rural communities in southeastern Nigeria. We found that TBHs provide their clients, who are mainly less educated women and girls, health services that range from child delivery, child sex selection, and abortion to family planning and cures for vaginal bleeding. Women are attracted to TBHs because the services are low cost, the women require privacy about their conditions, the TBHs are close by, and the women are confident in the abilities of TBHs. Rural women are bound by poverty, culture, and local values in their choices of services. We assert that health interventions to local people will need to be couched within frameworks that are responsive to their socioeconomic and cultural sensitivities if they are to deliver their expected impact.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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