Prevention and elimination of disrespect and abuse during childbirth

ISSN 0256-5004 (Print)

AIMS Journal, 2015, Vol 27 No 1

WHO Statement by Lieve Blancquaert

Every woman has the right to the highest attainable standard of health, including the right to dignified, respectful care during pregnancy and childbirth. However, across the world many women experience disrespectful, abusive, or neglectful treatment during childbirth in facilities. These practices can violate women's rights, deter women from seeking and using maternal health care services and can have implications for their health and well-being.

The statement illustrates a commitment to promoting the rights of women and to promoting access to safe, timely, respectful care during childbirth. It calls for:

  • Greater support from governments and development partners for research and action.
  • Programmes to improve the quality of maternal health care, with a strong focus on respectful care.
  • Greater emphasis on the rights of women to dignified, respectful healthcare through pregnancy and childbirth.
  • The generation of data related to respectful and disrespectful care practices, systems of accountability and meaningful professional support.
  • The involvement of all stakeholders, including women, in efforts to improve quality of care and eliminate disrespectful and abusive practices.
  • The statement has been endorsed by a range of organisations worldwide. www.who.int/reproductivehealth/topics/maternal_perinatal/statement-childbirth-data/en/


AIMS supports all maternity service users to navigate the system as it exists, and campaigns for a system which truly meets the needs of all. AIMS does not give medical advice, but instead we focus on helping women to find the information that they need to make informed decisions about what is right for them, and support them to have their decisions respected by their health care providers. The AIMS Helpline volunteers will be happy to provide further information and support. Please email helpline@aims.org.uk or ring 0300 365 0663.

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