Disrespect and abuse (D&A) during childbirth has been documented in countries around the world. Women have reported being abandoned, scolded, examined without their consent and even physically abused during labor and delivery. Experiencing D&A during childbirth discourages women from delivering in health facilities and is a human rights violation.

The evidence on adverse maternal and newborn health outcomes resulting from D&A during childbirth is limited. The Maternal Health Task Force (MHTF) established the Hansen Project on Maternal and Child Health in partnership with colleagues in Ethiopia and Tanzania to conduct research on, facilitate discussion about and drive interventions to prevent D&A.

The MHTF measured the prevalence of D&A and tested interventions to promote respectful maternity care in urban Tanzania in partnership with colleagues at Management and Development for Health (MDH) and conducted similar research in rural Ethiopia in partnership with colleagues from Addis Ababa University and the Last Ten Kilometers (L10K) Project of John Snow Incorporated. A core component of this project was interviewing both providers and obstetric patients to better understand the local ecology of facility-based childbirth and generate investment from health care facilities and governments to improve maternal and newborn care. The ultimate goal of the Hansen Project was to improve the quality of care that women receive during childbirth in health care facilities, thereby encouraging facility-based birth and improving health outcomes for mothers and babies across the globe.

Read the findings from studies conducted as part of the Hansen Project:

Jeopardizing quality at the frontline of healthcare: Prevalence and risk factors for disrespect and abuse during facility-based childbirth in Ethiopia
Health Policy and Planning | December 2017

The prevalence of disrespect and abuse during facility-based childbirth in urban Tanzania
BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth | July 2016

Mitigating disrespect and abuse during childbirth in Tanzania: An exploratory study of the effects of two facility-based interventions in a large public hospital
Reproductive Health | July 2016

Applying a participatory approach to the promotion of a culture of respect during childbirth
Reproductive Health | July 2016