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Methodology: All the TBAs identified through snowball method within the LGA consented to providing information, through interviewer-administered questionnaires on their reproductive health practices.
Results: Of the 45 TBAs interviewed, forty-four (97.8%) were female. The majority (62.2%) acquired their skills through apprenticeship with relation, while 8.9% had no training at all. The services provided by the TBAs ranged from ante-natal care provided by 53.3%, child delivery, 97.8%, treatment of infertility, 60.0%, management of threatened abortion, 13.3% and circumcision of babies, 28.9%. Preparations used in the treatment of cord stump included methylated spirit used by 42.2% of the respondents, herbal preparations, 28.9%, dry heated sand, 11.1% and engine oil, 6.7%. Some of the medications used (animal dung, flies, scarification marks, and cow urine) to treat patients could serve as sources of infection. Methods of risk assessment during ante-natal care, management of delivery complications, record keeping among TBAs were found to be poor. Infection prevention methods used were also found to be poor, with more than half (51.1%) not using any form of preventive measures during procedures.
Conclusion: This study has revealed that the practices of these TBAs are not safe. There is need for improvement through a more holistic training programme including monitoring and supervision.
Keywords: traditional birth attendants, role, maternal health
Journal of Community Medicine and Primary Health Care 2005, 17(1): 55-60