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The prevalence of disrespect and abuse during labour and childbirth is well documented in low- and middle-income countries. As well as violating women’s rights, this presents a barrier to accessing intrapartum care services. Various different types of disrespect and abuse have been identified, the most common being verbal abuse and neglect/abandonment.

The WHO Intrapartum Care Guidelines highlight respectful care as a key recommendation, and respectful maternity care (RMC) is emerging as an essential concept for ensuring the rights and safety of women during labour. Evidence of interventions which aim to improve RMC is sparser within the literature.

UNFPA East and Southern Africa Regional Office (ESARO) commissioned this evidence synthesis on RMC initiatives in LMICs to learn more about what has and has not worked. The study comprises a review of the peer-reviewed literature on RMC interventions in LMICs, and an exploration of accelerators of the roll out of RMC interventions in two East and Southern African countries - Tanzania and Ethiopia.