Traditional birth attendants (9)

2 May, 2019

Hi Dr. Varkey

I am so glad that you highlighted your team's study on the indigenous midwives. I will definitely look at your report. I prefer to call the indigenous midwives rather than TBAs. And I take this cue from Brigitte Jordan's seminal work on Birth in Four Cultures. The word TBA denotes that these women are steeped in traditions (often seen as outdated) and does not give credit to these amazing women of their willingness to embrace new knowldege and skills. Based on this notion of outdated and other negative connotations attached to their work, it gives legitimacy to INGOS, NGOs, and other institutions and organisations to intervene to "train" them.

I did my doctoral research on the health and work on the indigenous midwives in Gujarat. I saw first hand how skilled these women were and the difficult circumstances they were working in. It seems nothing much has changed for the indigenous midwives.

Subadhra Rai

HIFA profile: Subadhra Rai is Senior Lecturer (Nursing) at the Nanyang Polytechnic in Singapore. subhadra.rai AT