Traditional birth attendants (12)

4 May, 2019


Thank you for sharing this very interesting project Dr. Leila. The Jeeva project report is highly revealing of the diverse traditional practices which do have contemporary relevance. I concur with the comments that the policy situation with local, indigenous traditions is of “throwing the baby out with the bathwater”. The important aspect of the report is that of ‘benchmarking’ of these traditional practices with experiences and textual, documented evidence of Ayurveda, which is an officially recognized and regulated traditional system of medicine in India. This method of benchmarking/assessment could form a model for other LMICs which have similar recognized systems of medicine.

The Indian National Health Policy 2017, does have medical pluralism as a key strategy. It says “Patients who so choose and when appropriate, would have access to AYUSH care providers based on documented and validated local, home and community based practices. These systems, inter alia, would also have Government support in research and supervision to develop and enrich their contribution to meeting the national health goals and objectives through integrative practices.” Well informed reports like the one shared by Dr.Leila should form basis for dialogues and stronger advocacy.

Currently there are efforts by the Quality Council of India in collaboration with some universities and research bodies to assess traditional healers’ practices based on certain minimum standards of competency and accredit and certify them ( Though this has not been initiated among traditional birth attendants, this would be another approach to identify and integrate relevant practices of TBAs too.



Dr. Unnikrishnan Payyappallimana

Principal Visiting Fellow

United Nations University-International Institute of Global Health (UNU-IIGH)

UKM Medical Centre, Jalan Yaacob Latif, Bandar Tun Razak,

56000 Cheras 9 Miles,

Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

HIFA profile: PM Unnikrishnan is Principal Visiting Fellow, United Nations University-International Institute of Global Health (UNU-IIGH), Malaysia. Professional interests: Traditional medicine, Public health, Sustainable development. unnipm AT