Controversy Over Home Births

Having one’s baby at home is now an accepted option in many countries, but in Tajikistan it is seen as an older rural tradition.

Controversy Over Home Births

Having one’s baby at home is now an accepted option in many countries, but in Tajikistan it is seen as an older rural tradition.

Friday, 29 May, 2009
Up to 40 per cent of births take place at home, generally in rural areas and often with a midwife who has no formal training. Only about one in a hundred babies in the capital Dushanbe is born in the home.



As Farkhonda Sharifzoda reports, home births are becoming more popular in the towns. Women interviewed in her report said they chose this option because infection was widespread in the state maternity hospitals. Also, they said, the hospital environment is unpleasant, with staff constantly demanding hand-outs in return for care and medicines.



Gynaecologist Rano Aliev says the hospitals are getting better, with improved training for staff. She also warns that women having home births risk complications that place the baby’s life at risk.



A woman who used to work as an untrained midwife said she did this during the 1992-97 civil war when “times were hard and ambulances wouldn’t come out”, but these days she recommends that expectant mothers go to hospital.



“I’ve no medical education, she said. “But I did read loads of books when I was younger.”







Tajikistan
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