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Two out of three women are mistreated, abused during childbirth – Study

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A study conducted on obstetric violence among Ghanaian women have revealed that two out of three pregnant women have suffered violence in the hands of Health professionals during Labour and Childbirth.

The study, conducted by a German based Ghanaian Researcher, Dr Abena Yalley and her team of researchers engaged 2,142 mothers between September 2021 and February 2022 on Obstetric Violence in Western and the Ashanti Regions.

The study, termed: “Humanizing the Birthing Process” sought to find out the factors impeding maternal and newborn deaths and the gaps between why many women accessed the antenatal care but did not translate into hospital deliveries and thus hampering the achievement of safe maternal care, morbidity, and mortality.

In Ghana, research had established that 310 deaths were recorded in 2017 out of 100,000 live births a major cause of worry to achieving some indicators of the SDGs.

Dr Abena Yalley at a dissemination workshop with nurses, midwives, doctors, women groups, and tutors of training institutions, said the burden of obstetrics violence in Ghana raises a matter of urgency.

“Obstetrics Violence in the facilities understudied manifested in the form of disrespect, lack of empathy, non-dignified care, neglect and abandonment, physical violence and non-consented.”

The Research noted shouting or yelling, beating of women in Labour, stitching of episiotomy without an aesthesia by health professionals after deliveries were some of the common but most dangerous practices in facilities.

The study established that women particularly single mothers and teenage girls suffered most of these abuses.

The perceived impact of these negative tendencies demonstrated by health professionals according to the study had resulted in many women preferring traditional birth attendants to skilled birth attendants.

Women who had suffered this violence had also been affected either psychologically or emotionally and fear to attend facility for deliveries.

A situation which the study established could reduce the gains on maternal and newborn deaths and Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission of HIV and AIDS.

The study recommended that curricula of Health institutions must be revisited, and students armed with information on giving human face to their work, strategic intervention to break the cycle of violence and complaints systems to enable the abuse channel grievances.

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