Accepted paper:

'A normal delivery takes place at home': incorporating maternal perspectives into biomedical healthcare programming

Author:

Juliet Bedford (Anthrologica)

Paper short abstract:

Focusing on maternal health-seeking behaviour in rural Ethiopia, this paper addresses reasons why women who utilise biomedical services at other times, do not deliver at health facilities.

Paper long abstract:

This paper argues that to maximise any healthcare intervention, the needs and perceptions of the intended beneficiaries must be rigorously incorporated into policy and programming. It focuses on maternal healthcare-seeking behaviour in rural Ethiopia, where maternal mortality rates remain amongst the highest in the world and only 18% of births are attended by a skilled attendant. We address why women who utilise biomedical services at other times, do not deliver at health facilities. To increase the utilisation of facilities for childbirth, it is not sufficient to channel resources into expanding services and access alone. Tensions arise when maternal perspectives juxtapose the biomedical framework. Key socio-cultural determinants need to be harnessed as positive drivers for healthcare, whilst their impact as barriers are minimised. Based on operational research to improve Maternal Newborn and Child Health in Ethiopia and international safe motherhood initiatives, this paper presents evidence of the significance of anthropology, both in and of global public health.

panel LD06
Anthropologies in and of public health in the 21st century