Study finds little evidence of cultural factors behind home birth (Burkina Faso)

home birth burkina faso

A study in Burkina Faso has concluded: “citing cultural factors as a central factor explaining home deliveries is not justified”.

Researchers, led by Manuela De Allegri of the University of Heidelberg in Germany, worked in the Nouna district in Burkina Faso and looked at 420 families where a baby had been born in the last 12 months. They carried out a quantitative survey and then they interviewed mothers, fathers and other significant decision makers in 55 homes, as well as 13 village leaders.

The rate of home births in the area is low because of a programme to reduce fees and actively promote birth in health centres. The home birth rate is only 11%.

Mothers and fathers equally recognised the benefits of institutional delivery, so a particular reluctance on the part of men was not found either. The factors found to be significant were accessibility (condition of the roads/distance) and affordability (higher existing fees/lower household income). The paper concludes that these should be the focus of any programme to increase rates of institutional delivery.


Allegri MD, Tiendrebéogo J, Müller O, Yé M, Jahn A & Ridde V (2015), Understanding home delivery in a context of user fee reduction: a cross-sectional mixed methods study in rural Burkina Faso, BMC Pregnancy & Childbirth 15

Photo: DFID. Creative Commons.