Woman-Centered Care

We advance evidence-informed approaches to improve the provision and experience of maternal and newborn healthcare. Learn about our partners’ efforts to address post-partum hemorrhage, respectful care, maternal mental health, and how to strengthen relational aspects of networks of care.


ISC partners participated in consultations on disrespect and abuse, which helped inform the WHO Statement on the Prevention and Elimination of Disrespect and Abuse During Facility-Based Childbirth (2014).  Implementation Research Studies in East Africa informed the WHO’s global mistreatment research effort. ISC partners continue to actively engage in the RMC Global Council, community of practice hosted by the White Ribbon Alliance, and support USAID efforts to advance RMC within the agency and beyond.

East, Central Southern Africa Health Community (ECSA-HC) began hosting a series of consultations in 2016, which paved the way for a ministerial resolution on RMC in 2018. The resolution represents tangible member state recognition of RMC as a priority as well as the need to apply implementation science approaches to addressing disrespect and abuse and the advancement of respectful maternal care. ECSA-HC remains a key policy platform partner in the ISC.

In addition to the influence the initial implementation research had in Kenya (Heshima) and Tanzania (Staha), there have been additional policy and strategy advancements in both countries, and we continue to support efforts in Tanzania.  Tanzania most recently adopted the National Guideline for Gender and Respectful Care Mainstreaming and Integration Across RMNCAH services in Tanzania.

History of Woman-Centered Care

In 2022, the ISC welcomed more than 300 people from 50+ countries for a webinar exploring evidence, experiences and perspectives on approaches and routine monitoring and evaluation for respectful maternal care in Africa. It was co-hosted by the East, Central, and Southern Africa Health Community and the University of California San Francisco.

Since the Bowser and Hill Landscape Analysis was commissioned in 2010, much has been done to address disrespect and abuse in birthing facilities and to develop, test, and implement interventions and approaches to promote respectful maternal care (RMC) (see the Timeline of Key Events for major milestones). Our global partners and those in Malawi, Madagascar, Kenya, and Tanzania have reflected the power of local leadership, meaningful stakeholder engagement, implementation evidence, and dissemination to inform and improve woman-centered care in their countries.  We have engaged researchers, implementers, and policy experts from Africa and the U.S. to generate more evidence on promising approaches, analysis and consultation around RMC terms and framing, improved packaging of evidence and knowledge products, and informed indicator development for routine monitoring and evaluation of RMC.