Advancing respectful, woman-centered care

Studies have found that the prevalence of disrespect and abuse of women in childbirth includes instances of verbal and physical abuse, lack of consent and confidentiality, abandonment/neglect, and discrimination and detention in health facilities and ranges widely [1].  Evidence suggests such mistreatment can lead to poor outcomes, reduces trust in the health system, and impacts future care-seeking [2]. Additionally, health system constraints can result in disrespect and abuse of health workers—many of whom are women [3].

While there is an increasing awareness around the need to improve the experience of childbirth care, more must be done to identify and promote promising approaches, interventions, and practical metrics and support the implementation of policies and strategies that advance respectful care. 

Learn more about Respectful Maternity Care in the pages below:

Improving woman-centered care with Implementation Science

Since the Bowser and Hill Landscape Analysis commissioned by URC through the Translating Research into Action (TRAction Project) in 2010, much has been done to address disrespect and abuse in birthing facilities and to develop, test, and implement interventions and approaches to promote respectful maternity care. Much of the early learning was informed by TRAction Project partners Columbia University and Population Council who spearheaded collaborations that conducted some of the first implementation research on prevalence and drivers of disrespect and abuse and developed and tested approaches to advance respectful maternity care in Tanzania and Kenya. Paired with advocacy efforts spearheaded by the White Ribbon Alliance, the need to mitigate disrespect and abuse and ensure respectful care has gained momentum (see the Timeline of Key Events for other major milestones in respectful care).  The HEARD Project builds on this momentum to bring more evidence to bear on solutions to advance respectful care in low- and middle-income countries.