A World Health Organization (WHO) – led study reveals that more than one-third of women in developing countries experience maltreatment from health personnel during child birth in health facilities.
The information published October 9, in The Lancet, an independent, international weekly general medical journal, shows that “younger, less-educated women were found to be more at risk of poor treatment, which can include physical and verbal abuse, stigmatisation and discrimination, medical procedures conducted without their consent, use of force during procedure and abandonment or neglect by health care workers.”
The research was done in 4 Countries; Ghana, Guinea, Nigeria and Myanmar. It found that in these countries, 838 (42%) of 2,016 women experienced physical abuse – most commonly being slapped, hit or punched. It equally recorded that there were high rates of non-consensual cesarean section, episiotomies (surgical cuts made at the opening of the vagina during childbirth), and vaginal examinations.
How to prevent mistreatment during childbirth
WHO says to tackle poor treatment during childbirth health systems must be held accountable and sufficient resources must be in place to provide quality and accessible maternal health care and clear policies on human right.
Some possible strategies the Health body proposes include; redesigning labour wards to meet the needs of women, improving the informed consent process on all medical interventions, providing sufficient mentoring and support for health workers, allowing women access to a companion of their choice during childbirth and labour, and building public demand for high quality maternity services.