AKM Mazharul Islam, an Assistant Professor of the Department of Anthropology at Shah Jalal University, Bangladesh and a graduate teaching fellow at Minnesota State University, USA has been engaged in teaching and research on medical anthropology for the last ten years.
Recently, he presented a paper on "Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs) in Mirzapur, Bangladesh: Training and Identity" at the annual conference of American Anthropological Association held at Washington D.C.
Mr. Islam is a board member of the international committee of the Society of Applied Anthropology and has been contributing articles in several journals and newspapers in anthropological issues. In an exclusive interview with Voice of America, he talks about the practices of TBAs in Bangladesh, their training and identity and how these training programs have affected the professional identity of TBAs, and how they view themselves in relation to their communities.
He emphasized that governments and NGOs need to be cognizant of the expectations that they create. According to him, if it is decided to build new cadres of skilled birth attendants, much thought is needed regarding how to position these new cadres in relation to existing trained and untrained TBAs.