South Africa can reverse this trend, Human Rights Watch said. The report is based on field research between August and April with maternity patients, families, community caregivers, health and human rights experts, health workers, government officials, and representatives of donor and international agencies.
I was scared of how I would be treated. I hear the nurses are very rude and they are too rough.
HRC Letter on Maternal Mortality Morbidity and Human Rights – WILPF
After giving birth I developed serious problems. Luckily the HIV treatment center took me to hospital, and eventually I got treated. Human Rights Watch interviewed women who had experienced physical and verbal abuse at the hands of public health workers, including pinching, slapping, and rough handling during labor. They described treatment delays; nurses who ignored calls for help; and facilities that denied referral letters for pregnancy or childbirth-related problems, left women unattended for long periods after delivery, discharged women inappropriately and sent them home without pain medication or antibiotics, sometimes after Cesarean births, and refused them admission, sometimes without examining them, when they were in labor.
One community caregiver said she witnessed a woman experiencing life-threatening, obstructed labor being rejected from a community health center twice.
The woman had an emergency Cesarean section when she finally got care at a hospital. Women also described widespread verbal abuse. They said that when they sought care for pregnancy, nurses taunted them about enjoying sex or berated them for getting pregnant knowing they were HIV positive, or told them they did not deserve care because they were migrants. Others said nurses ridiculed women when they said they were having labor pains or pleaded for assistance.
Some women, especially migrants with language barriers, said health workers made little attempt to communicate with them and pressured them to undergo Cesarean sections without informed consent. Others said hospital workers demanded bribes or gifts. Many said that inadequate communication by ambulance dispatchers meant that they could not reach a health facility to give birth.
Some families of women or newborns who died, or women who had stillbirths, said they got little or no information about what caused the deaths. Mistreatment of maternity patients not only causes unnecessary suffering but also contributes to poor maternal health outcomes, Human Rights Watch said. Ill-treatment drives women away from seeking care.
Abuses can lead to delay in diagnosis and treatment, and in turn to increased morbidity and mortality that is more costly to the health system. Human Rights Watch called on the national and Eastern Cape provincial governments to do more to identify barriers to quality health care and to use that information to strengthen the health system.
The report found that the state fails to provide oversight and accountability for abusive staff and system failures. It said that complaint procedures in the Eastern Cape, which have the potential to address this challenge, do not function properly. Maternity patients told Human Rights Watch that they knew little about their rights as patients or how to file complaints, and that they hesitated to complain to officers in charge of facilities for fear of retaliation.
Others said they had little confidence that their complaints would be investigated and systemic changes made. Health facilities often fail to respond to complaints or provide redress. Few have quality assurance officers to handle complaints. Some nurses said they worked under such difficult conditions and so are unable to facilitate complaints.
We welcome the resolution on maternal mortality and morbidity and human rights at the HRC
These failings contribute to continued mistreatment of maternity patients, shield abusive staff, undermine the public healthcare system as a whole, and stymie progress on improving maternal health care, Human Rights Watch said. South African health workers indeed work under very trying circumstances, but the challenges they face do not justify abuse or interference with patient complaint mechanisms, Human Rights Watch said.
More options. Find it at other libraries via WorldCat Limited preview. Contributor Hunt, Paul, Gray, Tony.
Bibliography Includes bibliographical references and index. Summary The scale of maternal mortality and morbidity today is staggering. This book focuses on a vital part of a human rights response to maternal mortality, viz. Accountability encompasses monitoring, review and redress at the local, national and international levels.
It comes out of a roundtable conference held in Geneva during that examined maternal mortality, human rights and accountability and provided a forum where maternal health and human rights experts could listen to, and learn from, each other. As well as revised and updated conference papers, this volume includes a rich collection of additional resource material on maternal mortality, human rights and accountability.
Subject Maternal health services.
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Human rights. Liability Law Human rights. Liability Law Maternal health services. Bibliographic information. Publication date ISBN hbk. Browse related items Start at call number: RG M38 Librarian view Catkey:
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