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Protecting the Rights of Mothers through Respectful Maternity Care

The #MaternalMonday Campaign of the Wellbeing Foundation Africa has canvassed the need to protect the rights of mothers through Respectful Maternity Care. Disrespect and abuse during maternity care are a violation of women’s basic human rights and is becoming an urgent problem which requires urgent attention.

Sharing her story, Oluwatosin Adebowale recounts the experience of delivering her first child at a healthcare facility in Nigeria as the most horrific experience of her life. Haven endured mistreatment and abuse from the health workers, she almost lost her child due to inadequate healthcare facilities and the poor attitude of the health care workers.

Unfortunately, this experience is not unique to Oluwatosin, as studies and reports have shown that women in lower/middle income countries face greater risks of disrespect and abuse in childbirth. The practice of mistreatment and abuse against women during pregnancy and delivery has been identified as a significant barrier that prevents women from seeking facility-based childbirth.

It is evident that improving the attitude of healthcare workers towards mothers via training is crucial to achieving Respectful Maternity Care. Participants who proffered best-practice solutions noted healthcare systems and communities must be held accountable for the protection of the rights of childbearing women, while providing access to safe, timely and respectful care during childbirth. Moreover, Respectful Maternity Care is crucial to reducing maternal mortality as it encourages mothers to imbibe health-seeking behaviour.

#MaternalMonday, the popular weekly information campaign established by Her Excellency Toyin Saraki's Wellbeing Foundation Africa seeks to empower midwives, mothers and their newborns through demand creation for birth-preparedness, reducing the scourge of preventable maternal newborn and child mortality. Mrs Saraki, the Newborn Champion for Save The Children Nigeria, also serves as Global Goodwill Ambassador to the International Confederation of Midwives.

Signed: Communications The Wellbeing Foundation Africa Email: Web:

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