Exploring midwives' understanding of respectful maternal care in Kumasi, Ghana: Qualitative inquiry

Veronica Millicent DZOMEKU*, Bemah Adwoa BOAMAH MENSAH, Emmanuel Kweku NAKUA, Pascal AGBADI, Jody Rae LORI, Peter DONKOR

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Various aspects of disrespect and abusive maternity care have received scholarly attention because of frequent reports of the phenomenon in most healthcare facilities globally, especially in low- A nd middle-income countries. Experiences of disrespect and abuse during childbirth may dissuade women from returning for facility-based postpartum services, for antenatal care, and delivery for future pregnancies and births. Midwives' knowledge of respectful maternity care is critical in designing any interventive measures to address the menace of disrespect and abuse in maternity care. However, the perspectives of skilled providers on respectful maternal care have not been extensively studied. Therefore, the present study sought to explore the views of midwives on respectful maternity care at a teaching hospital in Kumasi, Ghana.

Methods: We employed an exploratory descriptive qualitative research design using an interpretative approach. Data were generated through individual in-depth interviews of fifteen midwives, which were audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim. Open Code 4.03 was used to manage and analyse the data.

Findings: The midwives demonstrated some degree of awareness of respectful maternity care that comprised of the following components: Non-abusive care, consented care, confidential care, non-violation of childbearing women's basic human rights, and non-discriminatory care. However, midwives' support for disrespectful and abusive practices such as hitting, pinching, and implicitly blaming childbearing women for mistreatment suggests that midwives awareness of respectful maternity care is disconnected from its practice.

Conclusion: In view of these findings, we recommend frequent in-service training for midwives and the institutionalization of regular supervision of intrapartum care services in the healthcare facility.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0220538
Number of pages13
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jul 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding: This project was financially supported by a grant awarded by National Institutes of Health through the Fogarty International Center under Award Number K43TW011022.
Publisher Copyright: © 2020 Public Library of Science. All rights reserved.


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