3 years ago

Community and health system intervention to reduce disrespect and abuse during childbirth in Tanga Region, Tanzania: A comparative before-and-after study

Stephanie A. Kujawski, Wema Moyo, Kate Ramsey, Lynn P. Freedman, Margaret E. Kruk, Selemani Mbuyita, Godfrey Mbaruku

by Stephanie A. Kujawski, Lynn P. Freedman, Kate Ramsey, Godfrey Mbaruku, Selemani Mbuyita, Wema Moyo, Margaret E. Kruk

Background

Abusive treatment of women during childbirth has been documented in low-resource countries and is a deterrent to facility utilization for delivery. Evidence for interventions to address women’s poor experience is scant. We assessed a participatory community and health system intervention to reduce the prevalence of disrespect and abuse during childbirth in Tanzania.

Methods and findings

We used a comparative before-and-after evaluation design to test the combined intervention to reduce disrespect and abuse. Two hospitals in Tanga Region, Tanzania were included in the study, 1 randomly assigned to receive the intervention. Women who delivered at the study facilities were eligible to participate and were recruited upon discharge. Surveys were conducted at baseline (December 2011 through May 2012) and after the intervention (March through September 2015). The intervention consisted of a client service charter and a facility-based, quality-improvement process aimed to redefine norms and practices for respectful maternity care. The primary outcome was any self-reported experiences of disrespect and abuse during childbirth. We used multivariable logistic regression to estimate a difference-in-difference model. At baseline, 2,085 women at the 2 study hospitals who had been discharged from the maternity ward after delivery were invited to participate in the survey. Of these, 1,388 (66.57%) agreed to participate. At endline, 1,680 women participated in the survey (72.29% of those approached). The intervention was associated with a 66% reduced odds of a woman experiencing disrespect and abuse during childbirth (odds ratio [OR]: 0.34, 95% CI: 0.21–0.58, p < 0.0001). The biggest reductions were for physical abuse (OR: 0.22, 95% CI: 0.05–0.97, p = 0.045) and neglect (OR: 0.36, 95% CI: 0.19–0.71, p = 0.003). The study involved only 2 hospitals in Tanzania and is thus a proof-of-concept study. Future, larger-scale research should be undertaken to evaluate the applicability of this approach to other settings.

Conclusions

After implementation of the combined intervention, the likelihood of women’s reports of disrespectful treatment during childbirth was substantially reduced. These results were observed nearly 1 year after the end of the project’s facilitation of implementation, indicating the potential for sustainability. The results indicate that a participatory community and health system intervention designed to tackle disrespect and abuse by changing the norms and standards of care is a potential strategy to improve the treatment of women during childbirth at health facilities. The trial is registered on the ISRCTN Registry, ISRCTN 48258486.

Trial registration

ISRCTN Registry, ISRCTN 48258486

Publisher URL: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1002341

You might also like
Discover & Discuss Important Research

Keeping up-to-date with research can feel impossible, with papers being published faster than you'll ever be able to read them. That's where Researcher comes in: we're simplifying discovery and making important discussions happen. With over 19,000 sources, including peer-reviewed journals, preprints, blogs, universities, podcasts and Live events across 10 research areas, you'll never miss what's important to you. It's like social media, but better. Oh, and we should mention - it's free.

  • Download from Google Play
  • Download from App Store
  • Download from AppInChina

Researcher displays publicly available abstracts and doesn’t host any full article content. If the content is open access, we will direct clicks from the abstracts to the publisher website and display the PDF copy on our platform. Clicks to view the full text will be directed to the publisher website, where only users with subscriptions or access through their institution are able to view the full article.