Mistreatment of women during childbirth in health facilities: in the literature and in the news

Disrespect, abuse, and mistreatment of women during childbirth in healthcare facilitates largely remained unseen—until now.  The USAID|TRAction Project, based at URC, made addressing disrespect and abuse of women during childbirth a priority, starting in 2010 with the commissioning of the “Landscape Analysis of Disrespect and Abuse during Facility-Based Childbirth” by Bowser and Hill.  The Landscape Analysis, along with the release of the Universal Charter of Childbearing Women, sparked global interest and action. What followed were two TRAction Project investments in Kenya (led by the Population Council) and Tanzania (led by the Averting Maternal Death and Disability Program at Columbia University).  These implementation research projects systematically measured the prevalence of disrespect and abuse and developed and tested approaches to confront it.  The experience generated by these two projects influenced similar studies and eventually a consultation at the World Health Organization.  In 2014 we saw the release of the WHO Statement on prevention and elimination of disrespect and abuse of facility-based childbirth

The light now shines brightly on the issue—it can no longer be ignored.  The TRAction Project continues to contribute to the mounting evidence that has proliferated in recent years, which has contributed to a review of available evidence released last week in the peer-review journal PLoS.   Most recently, the issue has infiltrated mainstream channels such as the New York Times on June 30 and the BBC World Service Health Check on July 7, 2015.

We are pleased that so many have joined the movement to protect women’s human rights during childbirth, preserve their dignity, and ensure every woman receives respectful maternity care.

July 09, 2015
Regions/ Countries