Embracing respectful and dignified care in West Bengal, India
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.
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.
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.
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.