n South African Medical Journal - Abuse in South African maternity settings is a disgrace : potential solutions to the problem : editorial

Volume 105, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 0256-9574
  • E-ISSN: 2078-5135



Abuse of patients by healthcare staff in maternity settings has been reported globally, in high- and low-income settings. Such behaviours include verbal abuse, physical abuse, non-consensual care, non-confidential care, neglect, abandonment of care and bribery. Review articles suggest that the causes are multifactorial, including lack of professional support for healthcare workers, hierarchical work relationships, excessive workload, inadequate staffing levels and poor infrastructure. A World Health Organization statement in 2014 emphasised that the problem of disrespect and abuse of women during facility-based childbirth is a global phenomenon requiring urgent attention.

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