Synergy between Skilled and Traditional Birth Attendants on Quality of Maternal and Newborn Care in Nigeria (Published)
Maternal and newborn health remains a critical challenge in Nigeria, with high maternal and neonatal mortality rates persisting in many regions. The coexistence of formal healthcare systems with traditional birth practices provides a unique opportunity for synergy between Skilled Birth Attendants (SBAs) and Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs) to improve the quality of maternal and newborn care. This study explores the potential benefits of collaboration between SBAs and TBAs in Nigeria and investigates the barriers and facilitators to such cooperation. The findings highlight the complementary strengths of SBAs and TBAs. SBAs bring formal medical training, evidence-based practices, and access to medical resources, while TBAs possess cultural knowledge, community trust, and local birthing expertise. Through joint training and capacity building initiatives, TBAs can be equipped with updated medical knowledge, improving their ability to identify high-risk pregnancies and refer cases to skilled healthcare providers effectively. Effective referral systems play a pivotal role in ensuring timely access to emergency obstetric care. Challenges to collaboration include cultural and traditional beliefs, language barriers, limited access to resources, and legal and regulatory obstacles. Addressing these barriers requires a comprehensive approach that promotes cultural sensitivity, mutual respect, and inclusiveness within the healthcare system. The study concludes that harnessing the synergy between SBAs and TBAs can lead to a more integrated and effective maternal and newborn healthcare system in Nigeria. By leveraging the strengths of both groups and creating an enabling environment for collaboration, Nigeria can make significant strides towards reducing maternal and neonatal mortality, improving the quality of care, and achieving better health outcomes for mothers and newborns. Continued research and collaborative efforts are essential to capitalize on this synergy and drive positive change in maternal and newborn healthcare across the country.