Background: There are many challenges women face to be able to give birth in health facilities in many parts of Indonesia. This study explores the roles and observations of close-to-community maternal health providers and other community members on potential barriers faced by women to deliver in health facilities in two districts within The Archipelago. Methods: Employing an explorative qualitative approach, 110 semi-structured interviews and 7 focus group discussions were conducted in 8 villages in Southwest Sumba, in the East Nusa Tenggara province, and in 8 villages in Cianjur, in the West Java province. The participants included village midwives, Posyandu volunteer (village health volunteers), traditional birth attendants (TBAs), mothers, men, village heads and district health officials. Results: The main findings were mostly similar in the two study areas. However, there were some key differences. Preference for TBA care, traditional beliefs, a lack of responsiveness of health providers to local traditions, distance, cost of travel and indirect costs of accompanying family members were all barriers to patients attending health facilities for the birth of their child. TBAs were the preferred health providers in most cases due to their close proximity at the time of childbirth and their adherence to traditional practices during pregnancy and delivery. Conclusions: Improving collaborations between midwives and TBAs, collaboration, and responsiveness to traditional practices within health facilities and effective health promotion campaigns about the benefits of giving birth in health facilities may increase the use of health facilities in both study areas.



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