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The prevalence of disrespect and abuse during facility-based maternity care in Malawi: evidence from direct observations of labor and delivery

Journal Article
(Published September, 2017)
Sethi, R. (Author),
Gupta, S. (Author),
Oseni, L. (Author),
Mtimuni, A. (Author),
Rashidi, T. (Author),
Kachale, F. (Author)
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As part of the evaluation of Helping Babies Breathe intervention, 2109 direct observations of labor and delivery were conducted in August 2013 in 40 facilities (12 health centers and 28 hospitals) from 27 out of the 28 districts in Malawi.  This study is among the first to quantify the prevalence of disrespect and abuse during labor and delivery in Malawi through direct clinical observations. Measurement of the poor treatment of women during childbirth is essential for understanding the scope of the problem and how to address this issue.
Frequencies of disrespect and abuse items organized around the Bowser and Hill categories of disrespect and abuse and presented in the White Ribbon Alliance’s Universal Rights of Childbearing Women Framework were calculated. Bivariate analysis was done to assess the association between selected client background characteristics and the place of delivery with the disrespect and use during childbirth. The results showed that while women were frequently greeted respectfully (13.9% were not), they were often not encouraged to ask the health provider questions (73.1%), were not given privacy (58.2%) and were not encouraged to have a support person present with them (83.2%). Results from the bivariate analysis did not show a consistent relationship between place of delivery and D&A items, where the odds of being shouted at was lower in a health center when compared to a hospital (OR: 0.19; CI: 0.59–0.62) while there was a higher odds of clients not being asked if they have any concerns if they were in a health center when compared to a hospital (OR: 2.40; CI: 1.06–5.44). Women who were HIV+ had significantly lower odds of not having audio and visual privacy (OR: 0.34, CI: 0.12–0.97), of not being asked about her preferred delivery position (OR: 0.17, CI: 0.05–0.65) and of not being asked if she has any other problems she is concerned about (OR 0.38, CI:0.15–0.96).

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Citation: 
Sethi R, Gupta S, Oseni L, Mtimuni A, Rashidi T, Kachale F. The prevalence of disrespect and abuse during facility-based maternity care in Malawi: evidence from direct observations of labor and delivery. Reprod Health. 2017;14.