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Project seeks to address culture of disrespect, abuse in maternity care in Kumasi

Project seeks to address culture of disrespect, abuse in maternity care in Kumasi

Fri 24 Mar 2023 CHS News
Maternal Abuse Project i

Disrespectful and abusive midwifery care for child-bearing mothers continues to exist in some of Ghana’s health facilities, a study on maternity care presented by researchers from the Department of Nursing, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology reveals.

The research was funded by the National Institutes of Health, USA, and carried out at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) Kumasi. The goal was to address disrespectful and abusive maternal care in Kumasi by testing an intervention to promote respectful facility-based maternity care.

Four Respectful Maternity Care Modules (RMC-M) i.e. Dignified and respectful patient care 2. Communication in patient care 3. Focused antenatal care and 4. Effective birthing positions were developed and implemented at the hospital.

The Principal Investigator (PI) emphasized the importance of the intervention to lessen the trauma associated with childbirth.

“Years after the childbirth, the woman forgets the pain associated with the experience but not the experiences of humiliation that she goes through,” she said.

A total of 110 midwives were trained in these modules and 450 women who received care from the trained midwives were followed up for their feedback on the quality of care.  The findings indicated satisfactory care, improved patient-provider communication, and increased trust in hospital care.

The Principal Investigator (PI) of the research study, Prof Veronica Dzomeku indicated that preliminary studies revealed the existence of disrespect and abuse of women in healthcare facilities in the forms of the patient being disregarded, shouted at, beaten, insulted, not receiving adequate information related to the care and long waiting hours. The modules were developed to address some of these forms of abuse and disrespect. The research thus revealed that despite the gains of women receiving facility-based care, we risk losing women preferring this care due to disrespect. This she asserted could increase maternal mortalities.

Some of the midwives attested to the fact that disrespectful care exists, however, it is usually intended for the mothers to have a successful outcome.  

Logistics constraints, high midwife-to-patient ratio, and hospital policies on payment were highlighted by the study as barriers to respectful care.