ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846
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Can Maternity Services Open Up to the Indigenous Traditions of Midwifery?

Mainstreaming the ayurveda, yoga, unani, siddha, homeopathy systems should imply deep changes in maternity care. Big changes there are, but in the wrong direction. Aiming to reduce maternal and neonatal mortality, the National Rural Health Mission's Janani Suraksha Yojana scheme presses expectant mothers to go for "institutional delivery" and avoid home births. The nrhm document also speaks of revitalising local health traditions. This means that the dais who have been part of the local health traditions should be incorporated into the government structure at the lowest end as has always been the case. This paper raises various questions related to maternity care governance for the benefit of local communities and looks at the possibilities of strengthening the services with serious inputs from dais. It acknowledges the dimensions of class, caste, gender, power and ideology that would be implicated in the acceptance of the "dai tradition" within the healthcare services system.

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