In 2018, ICM began developing a series of workshops on Respectful Maternity Care to present at our regional conferences in Dubai, Paraguay and Namibia. At each workshop, there was an overwhelming call for more education and support to change the behaviour of health workers caring for women during pregnancy and birth. Many recent studies show that disrespect and abuse of women are common, ranging from verbal abuse and physical violence to stigma and discrimination. This occurs in low and high-income countries at an alarming rate and is contributing to women declining to access essential antenatal or childbirth care.
Supported by UNFPA, ICM has continued to work on developing resources and materials to be openly available and widely disseminated for midwifery educators, hospital managers, in-service teachers, country midwife advisors, and development partners. The RESPECT toolkit provides step by step guidance on why and how to run a workshop on Respectful Maternity Care. In addition, we have added many videos, lesson plans, PowerPoint slides, and reference documents with a facilitator guide on how to go through each step of a workshop. It is intended these materials are adapted for local use, and are available in English, French and Spanish.
At a time in a woman’s life when she is the most vulnerable, she is in the hands of those who are meant to protect and provide her with safety and care. As midwives, we need to reflect on the voices of women who have unequivocally told us that what they want is respectful care. Please join ICM in its strategy to create zero tolerance for disrespect and abuse.