Journal Article

Reasons for preference of home delivery with traditional birth attendants (TBAs) in rural Bangladesh: A qualitative exploration

Background and Objectives
Although Bangladesh has made significant progress in reducing maternal and child mortality in the last decade, childbirth assisted by skilled attendants has not increased as much as expected. An objective of the Bangladesh National Strategy for Maternal Health 2014–2024 is to reduce maternal mortality to 50/100,000 live births. It also aims to increase deliveries with skilled birth attendants to more than 80% which remains a great challenge, especially in rural areas. This study explores the underlying factors for the major reliance on home delivery with Traditional Birth Attendants (TBA) in rural areas of Bangladesh.

This was a qualitative cross-sectional study. Data were collected between December 2012 and February 2013 in Sunamganj district of Sylhet division and data collection methods included key informant interviews (KII) with stakeholders; formal and informal health service providers and health managers; and in-depth interviews (IDI) with community women to capture a range of information. Key questions were asked of all the study participants to explore the question of why women and their families prefer home delivery by TBA and to identify the factors associated with this practice in the local community.

The study shows that home delivery by TBAs remain the first preference for pregnant women. Poverty is the most frequently cited reason for preferring home delivery with a TBA. Other major reasons include; traditional views, religious fallacy, poor road conditions, limited access of women to decision making in the family, lack of transportation to reach the nearest health facility. Apart from these, community people also prefer home delivery due to lack of knowledge and awareness about service delivery points, fear of increased chance of having a caesarean delivery at hospital, and lack of female doctors in the health care facilities.

The study findings provide us a better understanding of the reasons for preference for home delivery with TBA among this population. These identified factors can inform policy makers and program implementers to adopt socially and culturally appropriate interventions that can improve deliveries with skilled attendants and thus contribute to the reduction of maternal and neonatal mortality and morbidity in rural Bangladesh.