Original Research

Exploring experiences with sensitivity to cultural practices among birth attendants in Kenya: A phenomenological study

Teckla K. Ngotie, Doreen K.M. Kaura, Robert Mash
African Journal of Primary Health Care & Family Medicine | Vol 14, No 1 | a3322 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/phcfm.v14i1.3322 | © 2022 Teckla K. Ngotie, Doreen K.M. Kaura, Robert Mash | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 03 November 2021 | Published: 22 August 2022

About the author(s)

Teckla K. Ngotie, Department of Nursing and Midwifery, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa; and, Department of Community and Reproductive Health, School of Nursing Sciences, Kenyatta University, Nairobi, Kenya
Doreen K.M. Kaura, Department of Nursing and Midwifery, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa
Robert Mash, Department of Family and Emergency Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: Sensitivity to women’s cultural needs and expectations by care providers is essential. Skilled birth services for women are as essential as traditional birth services. Therefore, collaborative skilled and cultural care optimises childbearing experiences.

Aim: This study explored the experiences of birth attendants (BAs) with sensitivity to cultural practices (CPs) during pregnancy and birth among the Keiyo community in Kenya.

Setting: The study was conducted in the purposively selected public health centres and dispensaries offering maternity services and the villages in Keiyo South Sub County in Kenya.

Methods: A qualitative interpretive phenomenological study of BAs was conducted. Iterative and inductive interviews using a semistructured guide were conducted with 11 skilled BAs (SBAs) and eight traditional BAs (TBAs). Audio-recorded interviews were transcribed and analysed using ATLAS.ti software version 8.4.4 (1135), following Van Manen’s five thematic analysis steps.

Results: Three themes emerged: birth attendants’ cultural encounters, response to cultural encounters and collaboration. Birth attendants’ responses to different cultural encounters revealed their awareness of CPs. The response was experienced as a sensitivity to the need for a triad (woman, TBAs and SBAs) collaborative care, enabling collaborative, woman-centred and culturally safe care.

Conclusion: Birth attendants are exposed to cultural encounters, and their responses determine their awareness of enabling sensitive care for optimal childbearing experiences. The study illuminated the need for further collaborative engagements between the BAs and the community to facilitate positive experiences by women through woman-centred, culturally safe care.


Keywords

skilled birth attendants; traditional birth attendants; cultural sensitivity; cultural practices; pregnancy; birth

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