Embracing respectful and dignified care in West Bengal, India

Mar 9, 2020 | Blog, India, News

By Sujoy Roy, White Ribbon Alliance West Bengal

White Ribbon Alliance’s efforts to ensure respectful and dignified care for all accelerated in February 2020 with a successful training on respectful maternity care (RMC) at Balurghat Super Specialty Hospital in West Bengal, India.

Nurses, midwives, doctors and all medical personnel are critical to ensuring that women and newborns receive the respectful treatment they deserve when seeking and receiving care.


Balurghat District Officer (Chief Medical Officer of Health) Dr. Sukumar Dey is a great supporter of respectful maternity care and has insisted that staff members of the Balurghat Super Specialty Hospital in West Bengal, India undergo training on a regular basis.


Accounting for 15% of total maternal deaths worldwide, India remains one of the most high-risk places in the world to give birth. Almost all these deaths are preventable, suggesting that the rush to bring women to facilities has grown without investing enough on the experience they have once they are there. The best way to continue decreasing India’s maternal mortality rate is to focus on realizing women’s rights for quality, respectful healthcare.


Over 80 participants attended the hands-on training over two days, including 20 Staff Nurse Midwives, 12 OB/GYN Senior doctors, Quality Assurance Staff, the Deputy Nursing Superintendent, Chief Medical Officer and other healthcare workers, showing the hospital’s commitment to giving mothers and their newborns the respectful care they deserve from all levels. 


The hands-on training included role play exercises to emphasize the importance of respectful maternity care during treatment at the hospital.

The RMC training extended to a second day to include all support staff working in the labor and emergency rooms, including anesthesiologists and scavenging personnel.  


Through White Ribbon Alliance India‘s advocacy work on improving quality of care in this particular district over the past 10 years, the maternal mortality ratio (MMR) in West Bengal stands at 97, significantly lower than India’s national average of 122 deaths per 100,000 live births.


Author Sujoy Roy worked with medical staff at Balurghat Super Specialty Hospital in West Bengal, India to understand the importance of respectful maternity care.


The multi-day training ended with a three month action plan that incorporated the respectful care ideals presented in the Respectful Maternity Care Charter into the hospital’s standards of patient care, a strong first step in the movement to protect the universal rights of women and newborns in India and beyond.



Endorse the Respectful Maternity Care Charter on behalf of your organization or as an individual to show your support for the universal rights of women and newborns.