oo7. hypotheses

Ten non-obvious assumptions about our stakeholders that we need to validate.

  1. young girls do not know anything about pregnancy and giving birth. because they are kept out of the decision-making processes, they are uninformed and do not know.
  2. the value of children contributes largely to how women identify themselves, which is also linked to the lack of education women receive.
  3. rural community members don’t feel it necessary to go to the hospital unless they believe they are dying. They think that going to the hospital will automatically mean they will need surgery.
  4. husbands do not play any role in the decision-making processes of births. they are only there for financial support.
  5. there are now more TBA’s who act as Maternal and Newborn Health Promoters than there are actual TBA’s so that instead of delivering the babies themselves, they refer pregnant women to hospitals and commit to antenatal and postnatal care.
  6. TBA’s prefer their new roles as MNHP’s more than their old ones and think that they are doing better work.
  7. the professional healthcare system lacks a standardized protocol that every health worker should follow.
  8. Women are not aware of the immediate causes of maternal death such as sepsis and hemorrhage and they are desensitized to say that it is God’s plan or it was something inevitable.
  9. Rural community members, especially women, may not want to be filmed or be wary of being filmed.
  10. women do not want to go to the hospital because it takes away time from their domestic work with the family and because they think that they will get surgery when it is not necessary.

Ten hypotheses about my project that we need to test during fieldwork.

  1. We know that the clinics and hospitals in Sierra Leone are underfunded and not fully equipped but we do not know the extent of how much so we need to go and check that out in the field.
  2. the maternal mortality count is probably undercounted but we want to roughly by how much.
  3. we know there is a really poor infrastructure with getting medical care on time but we do not know the extent.
  4. rural community members are distrustful of the government and government workers because of the wealth gap.
  5. there is an emphasis on quantity over quality in terms of professional health workers. There are more community health workers than there are doctors and more experienced medical practitioners.
  6. the wide knowledge gap between urban and rural populations in terms of how they can prevent maternal mortality.
  7. geographic differences between urban and rural locations. in rural places, there will probably be dirt and natural land that is easily affected by season and weather that can act as barriers to travel to the clinic whereas, in urban regions, there are more paved roads and more transportation systems.
  8. the efforts taken to educate women on how to prevent maternal mortality are still weak and the Ministry of Health still has a difficult time reaching out to a larger audience.
  9. Traditional healers are still widely used and accepted and believed to work by community members, especially in rural areas.
  10. short life expectancy and high fertility rates changes people’s priorities compared to Americans who have longer life expectancies and bigger ambitions.

I think my background as an anthropology and global studies major allows me to bring a new perspective when it comes to tackling the research necessary for understanding the maternal mortality crisis in Sierra Leone. I have more knowledge of cultural awareness because I’ve studied and read multiple accounts of different cultures and their practices and norms so this helps me to think of alternative possibilities as to why things are the way they are instead of thinking in a limited eurocentric viewpoint. I also think that I am good at taking the initiative and stepping up when there are tasks that need to get done and nobody wants to take the first step. Over the course of this class, I have understood the limits within my strengths as well as my weakness. To be specific, because I am so focused on using my anthropology and global studies knowledge, I limit myself to the humanistic side of the research and don’t really expand to the structural barriers with the more technical stuff. And my weakness is that I have a hard time committing to dig deeper in one topic because the maternal mortality issue is such a complex web of a lot of elements that I want to touch on all of them.

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