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Disrespectful Maternity Care: Labor Room Violence in Government Health Facilities in India

Research, Maternal Health1 min read

Authors: Lovey Pant, Kanika Sharma, Nazar Khalid, and Nikhil Srivastav

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Abstract: The government of India (GOI) endeavors to enhance the satisfaction of beneficiaries by ensuring ‘Respectful Maternity Care’ (RMC) at public health facilities, however, through observations in public hospitals in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, we document widespread mistreatment of pregnant women and extensive labor room violence.

We also observed that women were often humiliated for their fertility choices and had intrauterine devices (IUDs) inserted without their full knowledge and consent. A target driven approach towards population control, staff’s burn-out from too many patients and long shifts, the lack of knowledge among staff on how to deal with the legitimate stress of a life and death situation, and a highly unequal society where it is socially acceptable to victimize low-ranking people, often leads to violence and abuse of pregnant women in delivery rooms.

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r.i.c.e. is a non-profit research organization focused on health and well-being in India. Our core focus is on children in rural north India. Our research studies health care at the start of life, sanitation, air pollution, maternal health, social inequality, and other dimensions of population-level social wellbeing.

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