Informing Policy & Practice
The Honorable Minister of Health of Tanzania, Ummy Mwalimu, speaks about Respectful Care at the ECSA-HC Health Minister’s Conference in March 2018. To her right are panelists Dr. Mary Mwanyika Sando of AAPH and Dr. Dilys Walker of UCSF. Learn more about the resolution that was passed as a result below.
In the past decade, policy advocacy efforts have resulted in the incorporation of respectful care in normative global guidelines and national policies, and several countries have enacted legislation to protect women during facility-based delivery. Thanks to these efforts, the issue of respectful care has become more mainstream in the scientific, medical, and policymaking communities and among the general public, as evidenced by the publication of numerous articles and reports.
URC in collaboration with TRAction and HEARD Project partners has helped influence the respectful maternal care (RMC) agenda and action. This was achieved through deliberate stakeholder engagement and extending the reach and accessibility of RMC evidence and tools through the development of knowledge hubs, repositories, webinars, and publications and additional dissemination of information. See resources for examples.
The following are highlights of how implementation science has influenced change:
TRAction partners participated in consultations on disrespect and abuse, which helped inform the WHO Statement on the Prevention and Elimination of Disrespect and Abuse During Facility-Based Childbirth (2014). Implementation Research Studies in East Africa informed the WHO’s global mistreatment research effort. URC and HEARD partners continue to actively engage in the RMC Global Council, community of practice hosted by the White Ribbon Alliance and support USAID efforts to advance RMC within the agency and beyond.
East, Central Southern Africa Health Community (ECSA-HC) hosted a series of consultations starting in 2016, which paved the way for a ministerial resolution on RMC in 2018. The resolution represents tangible member state recognition of RMC as a priority as well as the need to apply implementation science approaches to addressing disrespect and abuse and the advancement of respectful maternal care. ECSA-HC remains a key policy platform partner collaborating with HEARD on a webinar series and virtual consultations in the coming year.
In addition to the influence the initial implementation research had in Kenya (Heshima) and Tanzania (Staha), there have been additional policy and strategy advancements in both countries, and we continue to support efforts in Tanzania. Tanzania most recently adopted the National Guideline for Gender and Respectful Care Mainstreaming and Integration Across RMNCAH services in Tanzania.