Alumni News: Magrath Appears at Book Launch

May 27, 2022

Priscilla Magrath (Ph.D. UArizona, 2016; Senior Lecturer, UA Health Promotion Sciences) participated in a virtual book launch on Tuesday, May 31. The book launch included presentations by two distinguished discussants followed by Q & A with the authors.

The book is Anthropologies of Global Maternal and Reproductive Health: From Policy Spaces to Sites of Practice, edited by Lauren Wallace, Margaret MacDonald, and Katerini Storeng. It is published by Springer and is open access. 

Dr. Magrath’s chapter is Chapter 8, “Regulating Midwives: Foreclosing Alternatives in the Policy Making Process in West Java, Indonesia.”

Overview: In this chapter I investigate how and why officials at a district health office in West Java prioritized a regulation on partnership between skilled birth attendants (licensed midwives) and traditional birth attendants (lay midwives) as an important means of addressing maternal death. Indonesia is unusual in promoting such partnerships - in many countries traditional birth attendants are banned at worst or ignored at best. While the Indonesian government policy on partnership may be viewed as a step in the right direction, I argue that an over-emphasis on the respective roles of skilled and traditional birth attendants may draw attention away from other key determinants of maternal health outcomes including under-resourced health facilities and weak referral systems.