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October 2022

Int Nurs Rev. 1986 Jul-Aug; 33(4): 102-9.

Traditional maternity care within a bio-social framework.

Anderson S.

This study, using quantitative and qualitative methodologies attempts to draw a profile of traditional midwives in Botswana through describing their demographic characteristics, the patterns of communication between midwives and patients, their knowledge and practices and their cooperation with the modern maternity care sector. From the case study emerges a profile of a traditional midwife who: is socially and culturally integrated in the local community; represents a highly valuable source of information on cultural conceptions of crucial importance to childbearing Botswana women; demonstrates the value of a close personal interaction and communication with the pregnant and delivering woman; realizes the limitations of her own capability in birthing situations; and maintains a close communication with the local hospital to which she refers patients when required. The traditional midwife described in this case study is probably not a prototype of the contemporary Motswana traditional midwife. However, she does represent many of the valuable characteristics of the traditional approach which we in the modern sector might benefit from studying in order to improve the human quality of our own care. On the basis of this and other studies, it is recommended that cooperation be developed between modern and traditional midwives, not with the intention of controlling or regulating, but to respect the unique character of each. It appears that an open-minded cooperation between two independent sectors providing health care to the childbearing population is the optimal choice for the country at the present time. A policy for the structured cooperation between the two sectors might include the following: Regional education seminars for both modern and traditional midwives.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

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