Article Type

Original Research

Publication Date





Background: Imaging the World-Africa (ITWA) is a registered non-governmental organization aimed at distributing low-cost ultrasound services at health centres in rural Uganda. Yet, studies demonstrate that the majority of mothers continue to deliver with unregulated traditional birth attendants (TBAs) in their local villages. It has been suggested that the unregulated practices of TBAs has contributed to the high rate of maternal and fetal mortality. A greater understanding of the roles of TBAs in the management of pregnancy and delivery is needed.

Purpose: The purpose of this report is to provide the international community with a greater understanding of TBA practices as well as an assessment of their willingness for future collaboration.

Methods: Three TBAs from different nearby villages attended a meeting with ITWA in Kamuli District, Uganda. The meeting included an interview and an educational session. A test on the management principles of common obstetric complications was administered at the beginning and end of the meeting to assess baseline knowledge and the effect of the interaction.

Results: The meeting with the TBAs provided valuable qualitative information about TBA clinical experience, the value of TBAs to the community and TBA understanding of ultrasound. On the pre-educational test, the TBAs had a limited understanding of pregnancy complications and conditions in which it would be safer for a mother to deliver at a hospital. After the educational session, the TBAs performed statistically significantly better on the post-test (p=0.03).

Conclusion: The open conversation with the TBAs provided valuable information on the current role of TBAs in rural Uganda. Our experience with the TBAs demonstrates that TBAs are willing to engage with trained healthcare providers. Collaboration between TBAs and health centers in Uganda has the potential to bring to light previously unknown barriers and create solutions to better maternal and fetal care.


Uganda, traditional birth attendants, maternal health, ultrasound, collaboration

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© 2017 the Author(s). This open access article is distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Corresponding Author(s)

Elizabeth Yuan, University of Massachusetts Medical School, 55 Lake Avenue North, Worcester, MA 01655; elizabethdyuan@gmail.com