Spotlight on Maternal Care in African Hospitals

A medical journal in The Lancet found that more than one-third of new mothers in four poor countries are abused during childbirth. A study carried out in Ghana, Guinea, Myanmar and Nigeria by the World Health Organization, found that 42% of the women experienced physical or verbal abuse or some form of stigma or discrimination at maternity health facilities. The study also found a high number of Cesarean sections, vaginal exams and other procedures being performed without the patient’s consent. Of the 2,016 women observed for the study, 14% said they were either hit, slapped or punched during childbirth. Some 38% of the women said they were subjected to verbal abuse, most often by being shouted at, mocked or scolded. The authors of the study urged officials to hold those who mistreat women during childbirth accountable. They also urged the governments to put into place clear policies and sufficient resources to ensure that women have a safe place to give birth.


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