Community Health Sciences
Introduction: Respectful and dignified healthcare is a fundamental right for every woman. However, many women seeking childbirth services, especially those in low-income countries such as Pakistan, are mistreated by their birth attendants. The aim of this epidemiological study was to estimate the prevalence of mistreatment and types of mistreatment among women giving birth in facility- and home-based settings in Pakistan in order to address the lack of empirical evidence on this topic. The study also examined the association between demographics (socio-demographic, reproductive history and empowerment status) and mistreatment, both in general and according to birth setting (whether home- or facility-based).
Material and methods: In phase one, we identified 24 mistreatment indicators through an extensive literature review. We then pre-tested these indicators and classified them into seven behavioural types. During phase two, the survey was conducted (April-May 2013) in 14 districts across Pakistan. A total of 1,334 women who had given birth at home or in a healthcare facility over the past 12 months were interviewed. Linear regression analysis was employed for the full data set, and for facility- and home-based births separately, using Stata version 14.1.
Results: There were no significant differences in manifestations of mistreatment between facility- and home-based childbirths. Approximately 97% of women reported experiencing at least one disrespectful and abusive behaviour. Experiences of mistreatment by type were as follows: non-consented care (81%); right to information (72%); non-confidential care (69%); verbal abuse (35%); abandonment of care (32%); discriminatory care (15%); and physical abuse (15%). In overall analysis, experience of mistreatment was lower among women who were unemployed (β = -1.17, 95% CI -1.81, -0.53); and higher among less empowered women (β = 0.11, 95% CI 0.06, 0.16); and those assisted by a traditional birth attendant as opposed to a general physician (β = 0.94, 95% CI 0.13, 1.75). Sub-group analyses for home-based births identified the same significant associations with mistreatment, with ethnicity included. In facility-based births, there was a significant relationship between women's employment and empowerment status and mistreatment. Women with prior education on birth preparedness were less likely to experience mistreatment compared to those who had received no previous birth preparedness education.
Conclusion: In order to promote care that is woman-centred and provided in a respectful and culturally appropriate manner, service providers should be cognisant of the current situation and ensure provision of quality antenatal care. At the community level, women should seek antenatal care for improved birth preparedness, while at the interpersonal level strategies should be devised to leverage women's ability to participate in key household decisions.
Avan, B. I.
(2018). Women's experiences of mistreatment during childbirth: A comparative view of home- and facility-based births in Pakistan. PLoS One, 13(3), e0194601.
Available at: https://ecommons.aku.edu/pakistan_fhs_mc_chs_chs/916
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