No woman should be hit, yelled at, or abused in any way during childbirth. However, laboring women in Kenya and elsewhere may experience inhumane treatment in hospitals and clinics. This abuse is a key yet overlooked reason why only four in ten pregnant women in Kenya deliver at health facilities. To increase the number of women delivering in health facilities and thereby reduce maternal deaths, governments, health systems, and practitioners need sound evidence documenting the disrespect and abuse that women experience. Through the Heshima Project, the Population Council is changing how health systems and women think about quality maternity care by developing an intervention model to sensitize communities about women’s rights and to give health-care providers the tools they need to provide better care. This brief provides research results, explains what drives disrespect and abuse, and notes solutions being offered by through the Heshima Project.
"Confronting disrespect and abuse during childbirth in Kenya: The Heshima Project," Project brief. Nairobi: Population Council, 2014.
Heshima: Promoting Dignified and Respectful Care During Childbirth