Respectful maternity care is more than a socially just idea or concept. It is a reflective movement comprised of health care workers, activists, NGOs, and policy makers determined to protect women’s rights, their dignity, and choices throughout pregnancy and childbirth. In a world where health equity must be fought for, ensuring respectful maternity care must start at the very base of our society as childbearing is at the heart of communities worldwide.
For those of us working with, and advocating for, maternal, newborn, and child health issues it is heartbreaking to learn of the abuses and disrespect that violate women’s human rights before, during, and after childbirth when a woman is in her most vulnerable state. Organizations such as the White Ribbon Alliance have focused their energies on promoting safe motherhood and serve as a model of forward thinking in maternal care. White Ribbon Alliance has established a pioneering charter that embodies women’s rights and humanity in what is termed the childbearing period. While the Charter was inspired by preceding rights-based frameworks, it is nonetheless groundbreaking in its intent and reach.
The Charter of the Universal Rights of Childbearing Women addresses seven categories of disrespect and abuse and their corresponding rights. From physical abuse and non-consented care to denial of care and detention, women in countries ranging from the poorest to the richest are exposed to maternity care providers who would deny them their autonomy and dignity during one of the most important moments of women’s lives.
Alay Foundation embraces the fundamental human rights of women and their families and actively seeks to promote equitable, respectful care in its maternal health programs and facilities. Midwives will serve as the cornerstone of our services and will be included in our mission to bring respectful maternity care to all those we serve in San Jose City and the surrounding barangays. We intend to fully integrate the Charter into our pre-natal care program all the way through the post-natal period to include the child’s first two years.
We encourage you to lend your support to those who work at the forefront of women’s rights across the globe. Take a look at the video above and share our blog with the women and men in your community who strive to defend and uphold the rights of women and their families.