Date of Award

8-9-2014

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

First Advisor

Erica Gibson

Abstract

In Ghana, both governmental and non-governmental agencies have been working to reach the 2015 United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The fourth and fifth goals are related to reproductive health, reducing infant and maternal mortality respectively. Through a combination of increasing midwifery and nursing training programs, public awareness programs, and programs designed to retain skilled birth attendants. This paper explores how the policies and practices intended to create better birth outcomes in Ghana are perceived by those targeted for intervention, and by the reproductive health workers. Drawing from in-depth interviews with pregnant women, mothers with children under one year, and health professionals, as well as from participant-observation in Accra, Sunyani, and a small village in the Upper West Region, this thesis argues that programs and initiatives designed to create better birth outcomes are often misunderstood by local women and ignored in practice by some reproductive health workers. Misunderstandings occur due to cultural differences and language barriers. The underdevelopment in the northern regions, and the obstetric violence faced by all Ghanaian women, but especially rural and minority women, contribute to complex and nuanced individual understandings set against the backdrop of the Millennium Development Goals.

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