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Research Mentor and Department
Dr. Carolyn Sargent
In rural Madagascar, women seeking reproductive care may have the option of seeking out their local traditional birth attendant (TBA) or going to a biomedical Western clinic. In those cases in which there is a choice, our understandings of how women make their choice is limited. By understanding local women’s preferences for reproductive health care, this research seeks to not “[put] oneself in her place” and make recommendations from that standpoint, but rather to understand the “variety of responses to the practices that shape their lives” (Narayan 419). There is a finite amount of resources in the world and it is vital that those spent towards reducing maternal mortality are spent in ways that are most effective and appreciated by the women meant to receive the care. I traveled to Mahabo, Madagascar in May 2014 and conducted 23 interviews with women in the community as well as doctors, midwives, TBAs and local leaders. I can preliminary state that the lack of a midwife, distance from the hospital, spiritual beliefs regarding the Trumba, and impoverished state of the community contribute to the people’s hesitancy to utilize the services of the doctor and contribute to high rates of infection and poor maternal and infant health outcomes. My research revealed that most of the women would prefer to see the doctor if those barriers did not exist.