Village midwives and their changing roles in Brunei Darussalam: A qualitative study Academic Article uri icon


  • There are lay midwives worldwide, interchangeably and universally called traditional birth attendants or traditional midwives by organisations such as the World Health Organization and the International Confederation of Midwives.This study aimed to explore the history of lay midwives (village midwives) in Brunei, describe the evolution from their previous to current roles and determine if they are still needed by women today.This qualitative, descriptive study included in-depth, semi-structured interviews with eight women who had received care from village midwives. Data analysis was based on the principles underpinning thematic analysis and used a constant comparative method.Village midwives have been popular in Brunei since the 1900s, with their major role being to assist women with childbirth. However, since the 1960s, their roles and practices have changed to focus on pre-conception, antenatal, postnatal and women's general healthcare. Traditional practices were influenced by religion, culture and the social context of and within Brunei.The major changes in village midwives' roles and practices resulted from the enforcement of the Brunei Midwives' Act in 1956. Village midwives' traditional practices became juxtaposed with modern complementary alternative medicine practices, and they began charging a fee for their services.Brunei village midwives are trusted by women, and their practices may still be widely accepted in Brunei. Further research is necessary to confirm their existence, determine the detailed scope and appropriateness of their practices and verify the feasibility of them working together with healthcare professionals.

publication date

  • 2016