Status of respectful and non-abusive care during facility-based childbirth in a hospital and health centers in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Anteneh Asefa, Delayehu Bekele

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BACKGROUND: According to the 2011 Ethiopian Demographic and Health Survey, 90.1% of mothers do not deliver in health facilities, with 29.5% citing non-customary service as causative. A low level of skilled attendance at birth is among the leading causes of maternal mortality in low--and middle-income countries.

METHODS: A cross-sectional study was undertaken in four health facilities (one specialized teaching hospital and its three catchment health centers) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to quantitatively determine the level and types of disrespect and abuse faced by women during facility-based childbirth, along with their subjective experiences of disrespect and abuse. A questionnaire was administered to 173 mothers immediately prior to discharge from their respective health facility. Reported disrespect and abuse during childbirth was measured under seven categories using 23 performance indicators.

RESULTS: Among multigravida mothers (n = 103), 71.8% had a history of a previous institutional birth and 78% (75.3% in health centers and 81.8% in hospital; p = 0.295) of respondents experienced one or more categories of disrespect and abuse. The violation of the right to information, informed consent, and choice/preference of position during childbirth was reported by all women who gave birth in the hospital and 89.4% of respondents in health centers. Mothers were left without attention during labor in 39.3% of cases (14.1% in health centers and 63.6% in hospital; p < 0.001). Although 78.6% (n = 136) of respondents objectively faced disrespect and abuse, only 22 (16.2%) subjectively experienced disrespect and abuse.

CONCLUSIONS: This quantitative study reveals a high level of disrespect and abuse during childbirth that was not perceived as such by the majority of respondents. It is every woman's right to give birth in woman-centered environment free from disrespect and abuse. Understanding how women define abuse is crucial if Ethiopia is to succeed in increasing the uptake of facility-based births.

Original languageEnglish
Article number33
JournalReproductive Health
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Delivery, Obstetric
  • Dentists, Women
  • Ethiopia
  • Female
  • Health Facilities
  • Hospitals
  • Humans
  • Labor, Obstetric
  • Parturition
  • Patient Rights
  • Pregnancy
  • Quality of Health Care
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Women's Rights
  • Young Adult


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