In every country and community around the world, pregnancy and childbirth are hugely important events in the lives of women and families. Unfortunately, it is also a time of great vulnerability for women seeking health care. The relationship with maternity caregivers and the maternity care system during this crucial time is incredibly important. Positive birthing experience is considered as the universal right of childbearing women. The issue of disrespect and abuse (verbal and physical) during childbirth may seem simple on the surface. However, it is deeply rooted in complexity. It is not specific to South Asia, or sub-Saharan Africa, but rather disrespect and abuse are global issues that affect every health system in the world.
There is suggestive evidence that disrespect and abuse deter women from utilizing institutional health services.The concept of “safe motherhood” is usually restricted to physical safety, but childbearing is also an important rite of passage, with deep personal and cultural significance for a woman and her family. Because motherhood is specific to women, issues of gender equity and gender violence are also at the core of maternity care. Thus, the notion of safe motherhood must be expanded beyond the prevention of morbidity or mortality to encompass respect for women’s basic human rights, including respect for women’s autonomy, dignity, feelings, choices, and preferences, including companionship during maternity care and especially during labour and immediate postpartum.
In rural area, women are illiterate and belong to lower socio economic class. They are not aware about the reproductive health rights and are thus more tolerant towards and disrespect and abusive treatment they receive at health facilities. In urban areas, with growing literacy and women empowerment, women have started expressing their concerns, if get exposed to disrespectful treatment. The hospital managers are now aware about the importance of cliental satisfaction, and more than that, about the dis-satisfaction which can affect the hospital reputation and patient turn over. Hospitals also face the consequences of the ethical and legal issues which can crop up.
All childbearing women need and deserve respectful care and protection of their autonomy and right to self‐determination; this includes special care to protect the mother‐baby pair as well as women in a context of marginalization or heightened vulnerability (e.g., adolescents, ethnic minorities, and women living with physical or mental disabilities or HIV).
Author firmly believes that disrespect and abuse during maternity care are a violation of women’s basic human rights and respectful maternity care must be supported in totality at all levels of health facilities.We, as responsible health care providers , must support governments initiative of RMC ,which is highlighted in Laqshya Programme, nurture the culture of respectful maternity care and should oppose those, who violate women’s reproductive health rights!!