Moving Respectful Maternity Care into Practice in Comprehensive MCSP Maternal and Newborn Programs Operational Guidance

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Women’s and families’ experiences of childbirth care in health facilities is fundamental to their overall experience of childbirth and to their decision about where to give birth. Childbirth is an experience with deep personal and cultural significance and women and families want, and have the right to, respectful dignified care during childbirth. Studies from around the world, however, describe the mistreatment of women during facility childbirth (Bohren et al. 2015, 2019; Afulani et al. 2019). Mistreatment in childbirth violates women’s and newborns’ basic human rights, violates the fundamental obligation of the health system to provide support and healing in childbirth, and can cause lasting emotional trauma. The purpose of this operational guidance is to provide country stakeholders (including policy-makers, program managers and civil society members) and Maternal Child Survival Program (MCSP) staff with a flexible process to guide the design, implementation, and monitoring of efforts to strengthen RMC and eliminate mistreatment as part of comprehensive MNH programs.

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