- The maternity ward as mirror
- Maternal death, biobureaucracy, and institutional care in the Tanzanian health sector
- Award date
- 12 April 2017
- Number of pages
- Document type
- PhD thesis
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
As public health policies continue to encourage women to give birth in biomedical care facilities, this research provides insight into the sequences of events leading to deaths in these settings from the unique perspective of the healthcare providers and administrators themselves, in addition to that of women and their communities. While the term maternal mortality implies biological processes and clinical practices, this dissertation focused on sequences of events at the hospital, and on historical, institutional, and political economic structures that shaped maternal risk in this region through 23 months of mixed-methods, ethnographic fieldwork in the Rukwa region of Tanzania and the Mawingu Regional Hospital. Women’s lives and healthcare experiences before reaching Mawingu influenced their social support and access to resources in times of emergency in the hospital. Archival data helped explain how poor infrastructure, healthcare worker retention challenges, and debates on home vs. hospital birth have roots in the British colonial period.
Situated in a global health complex that emphasized data collection, healthcare providers found themselves constrained by an “accounting culture,” as opposed to working in a “caring culture.” Nurses desired to be part of a “caring culture” on the institutional level in which administrators demonstrated their care for and appreciation of nurses. Institutional lack of care contributed to the continued production of nursing care that gave the appearance of lacking motivation. This environment led to reduced expectations that providers and hospital administrators can solve clinical or systemic problems, constrained as they were by a system that makes it so difficult to do so.
- This thesis was prepared within the partnership between the University of Amsterdam and Washington University in St. Louis with the purpose of obtaining a joint doctorate degree.
Thesis (Embargo until 12 April 2019)
Preface (Embargo until 12 April 2019)
Chapter 1: Introduction (Embargo until 12 April 2019)
Chapter 2: Methods (Embargo until 12 April 2019)
Chapter 3: The problematic birthing body: The evolution of maternal healthcare services in Tanzania and the construction of the problem of maternal death (Embargo until 12 April 2019)
Chapter 4: “Pregnancy is poison:” Logics of risk and care in the community (Embargo until 12 April 2019)
Chapter 5: The Mawingu Regional Hospital Maternity Ward: Site of care, site of violence (Embargo until 12 April 2019)
Chapter 6: Working in scarcity (Embargo until 12 April 2019)
Chapter 7: “No zebras on your fingernails!”: Uniforms, looking “smart,” and the professional comportment of “good” nurses (Embargo until 12 April 2019)
Chapter 8: “Bad luck,” lost babies, and the structuring of realities (Embargo until 12 April 2019)
Chapter 9: The stories we tell about the deaths we see (Embargo until 12 April 2019)
Chapter 10: Conclusion and recommendations (Embargo until 12 April 2019)
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