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In 1983 a primary health care (PHC) programme was introduced into the Farafenni area of The Gambia; an important component of this programme was the identification and training of a traditional birth attendant (TBA) in each village with a population of 400 or greater. The outcome of pregnancy has been documented among women resident in 15 villages which joined the PHC programme and in 26 which were too small to do so, for 1 year before and for 3 years after the start of the programme. In PHC villages 65% of women were assisted at delivery by a trained TBA during the post-implementation period and the proportion of women who delivered in a hospital or health centre increased. Both maternal and neonatal death rates fell in PHC villages during the post-intervention period, declining to about half the levels recorded during pre-intervention surveys during the last year of the study. In non-PHC villages there was also a fall in the maternal death rate but little change in the neonatal death rate. Trained traditional birth attendants probably played some part in improving the outcome of pregnancy in the Farafenni area but other factors, such as improvements in transport, may also have contributed.


Journal article


J Trop Med Hyg

Publication Date





58 - 66


Adolescent, Adult, Cross-Sectional Studies, Evaluation Studies as Topic, Female, Fetal Death, Gambia, Humans, Infant Mortality, Maternal Mortality, Midwifery, Pregnancy, Pregnancy Outcome, Primary Health Care