Traditional birth attendants (TBAs) have penetrated Chitipa District Hospital to coax pregnant women to procure herbal concoctions for inducing quick deliveries.
The TBAs have infiltrated the public hospital despite being banned by government to ensure every baby is born with the assistance of skilled health workers.
They usually creep into maternity wards at night, persuading women and guardians to buy the uncertified drugs.
Health workers fear this could derail the country’s quest to reduce maternal death if not checked.
George Nkhoma, the safe motherhood coordinator at the hospital, said it was worrisome that some women are still delivering at the hands of unskilled attendants amid intensive awareness campaigns.
Said Nkhoma: “It is surprising that TBAs are now trailing pregnant women to health facilities. The danger is that they use a powerful herbal mix which forces the uterus to contract abnormally to force the baby out far earlier than their physiological delivery time.”
He explained that some newborns die within 48 hours of their birth or suffocate following the abnormal contraction of the uterus.
Almost 20 babies died at the hospital between January and March.
It registered 1 292 deliveries and 1 273 live births, an official report shows.
In the period, 168 births occurred at home—a jump from just 92 in the first three months last year.
Chief Mwaulambia said the growing number of women giving birth at home was alarming as most communities have by-laws banning the risky tendency and TBAs.
The traditional leader was speaking at a meeting conducted by White Ribbon Alliance in his area. n