Birthing choices among the Sabiny of Uganda
The paper examines maternal health-seeking behaviour among the Sabiny people of Eastern Uganda in relation to health policy ideals. It is based on a study of maternal health conducted between 2011 and 2012. Data were collected using in-depth interviews with mothers, focus group discussions with mothers and fathers and key informant interviews. The paper addresses what factors influence choice of place of delivery among the Sabiny. Findings reveal that the majority of Sabiny women opt for homebirths, with around one quarter delivering at health facilities. Some women would prefer to deliver at a health facility but do not manage to do so. Sabiny cultural beliefs and practices are a key factor influencing choice of place of birth. Comprehension of and accommodation to Sabiny concerns in available maternal health services is limited, highlighting the need to develop cultural competence among health workers and methods of accommodating (health-promoting) local practices. This should be accompanied by improved patient care and a narrowing of the gap between health workers and Sabiny communities by promoting outreach and community-based health interventions. The paper highlights how the implementation of policy might be tailored to specific local contexts.
- Medical and Health Sciences