Jennifer Akuamoah-Boateng

18. Respect is relational: A fractured midwife-woman relationship- focused ethnographic study of midwives’ views and beliefs about respectful maternity care in Ghana

Speaker: Jennifer Akumoah-Boateng

Facilitator: Tim Morley

Bowser and Hill seminal work increased the recognition of the mistreatment of women during facility-based birth in low-income countries. Research-led strategies have since focused on respectful maternity care for childbearing women. The perspectives of midwives have, however, received less attention. A focused ethnographic study was therefore carried out in Ghana to investigate the views and beliefs of midwives and some stakeholders in midwifery about respectful maternity care. The findings of the study indicate that respect is relational and embodies a mutual satisfaction with the outcome of care provided and reciprocal respect between the midwife and the woman. However, systemic deficiencies and constraints had resulted in women’s lack of trust in the system and midwives’ skill leading to a rejection of midwives’ identity and their care. These have become contributing factors not only to the abuse of women but of midwives resulting in the fracture of the midwife-woman relationship conceptualized by midwives.

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