The conventional role of traditional birth attendants is important

Portrait of Pendo Maiseli, executive director of Action for Community Care in Tanzania
Last updated on: 12 March 2024

Pendo Maiseli works for Action for Community Care in Tanzania, on a just started project focussing on paediatric HIV. We spoke with her about the role of traditional birth attendants in making sure children living with HIV enroll in care and the expected results when the project phases out. Watch her interview!

“We have started a new project with Aidsfonds. The project is called Imarisha Afia, which means enhance health in English. The project is focusing on paediatric HIV, aiming at finding all children living with HIV, bring them to care, and make sure that they stay on care. The conventional role of traditional birth attendants is important. Firstly, they are close to the women, they live with them, they interact with them. And most of the women are open up to them. So it’s easier for them to support them in their needs.

There are traditional birth attendants. In Tanzania, according to the Tanzanian government, they are out of the structure of the community. So formally, they are not used, there is a transition of using them to other community structures. So they are trained to play a role of advising, counselling, in providing referrals for the young mothers, women and pregnant women, to help facilities for more treatment on HIV and AIDS. So in this project, there’ll be used on the same role of advising, counseling, training and providing referral to those women.

When the project phased out, I’ll be proud to see all children living with HIV receiving treatment. And there are no new HIV infections and children live healthy lives.”