African Journal of Health Sciences

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Occupational risk factors for HIV infection among traditional birth attendants in Copperbelt province, Zambia

S Siziya, A Hazemba


A cross sectional survey was conducted among traditional birth attendants (TBAs) in order to determine occupational risk factors associated for HIV infection. All together 370 female TBAs were recruited into the study of whom 67 (18.1%) were trained. The median age was 50 (Q1=42, Q3=55) years. The use of mouth to mouth resuscitation was reported by 22 (6.0%) of the 365 TBAs. A total of 220 (59.6%) TBAs reported washing hands with soap and water after every contact with mothers and babies during labour and delivery. Only 42 (11.5%) TBAs used gloves all of the time when caring for women and babies during labour and delivery. Totals of 156 (42.3%) and 88 (23.8%) TBAs wore anything to protect their clothes and shoes during labour, respectively. Forty-four (11.9%) of the 369 TBAs were positive for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. After adjusting for age, TBAs who used mouth to mouth resuscitation were 6.02 (95%CI 1.97, 18.42) times more likely to be HIV positive than TBAs who did not use this method of resuscitating babies. We conclude that adherence to universal precautions was poor and that use of mouth to mouth to resuscitate babies should be discouraged.

Keywords: HIV, Traditional birth attendants, occupational risk factors, Zambia

AJOL African Journals Online