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Challenges to Effective Maternal Health Care Delivery: The Case of Traditional and Certified Nurse Midwives in Zimbabwe

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In Zimbabwe, certified nurse and traditional midwives play an important role in maternal health care delivery. The use of both certified nurse and traditional midwives reflects a commitment to a comprehensive health-care strategy, combining both traditional/indigenous and biomedical approaches and addressing both urban and rural health concerns. Shortages in medical personnel and resources, as well as tremendous indigenous cultural support, have put midwives in a unique if not dominant position in the domain of maternal health. In this exploratory study, the author raises a question about possibilities for effective and strategic collaboration between certified nurse and traditional midwives in an effort to improve maternal health-care services. Qualitative, indepth interviews conducted with certified nurse and traditional midwives reveals perceptions and attitudes that each hold about traditional and biomedical practices. The findings of this exploratory study suggest that effective collaboration between these providers may be hampered by negative perceptions, stereotypes, and professional claims made by both types of midwives. Suggestions are made for future research.


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