Home Institution

University of Massachusetts Amherst

Publication Date

Summer 2014

Program Name

Madagascar: Traditional Medicine and Health Care Systems


This project seeks to prove the practicality of using Reninjazas (traditional birthing attendants) in rural Madagascar to better prenatal care and diminish the maternal and infant mortality rates in this country. Prenatal care is of vital importance to expecting mothers. Without it, birth defects, complicated labor and delivery, miscommunications concerning fetal development, and even death can occur (Mayo Clinic, 2014). There is no doubt that the lack of adequate prenatal care in Madagascar contributes to its unfortunately high maternal and infant death statistics. While listed as “moderate” in terms of severity, the maternal and infant mortality rates in Madagascar are significantly higher than in other systems, such as in the US (CIA, 2014). Because of this, there has been a push in recent years to implement an allopathic system in this country to improve maternal care. However, these “pushers,” albeit with good intentions, want to put into effect a system that will not work in Madagascar. With the geographic, financial, and cultural barriers in this country, a completely allopathic prenatal care arrangement is not feasible. Therefore, those who wish to improve prenatal health in Madagascar should work to create an integrated healthcare system that utilizes the Reninjazas, and recognizes their practice as legitimate.


Maternal and Child Health | Maternal, Child Health and Neonatal Nursing | Nursing Midwifery | Public Health and Community Nursing


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