14 July 2017

Global Respectful Maternity Care Council (GRMCC)


Commitment Progress

For the past several years, the Global RMC Council has worked at embedding respectful maternity care at all levels, to ensure that women’s rights to respectful maternity care are respected, protected, and fulfilled. We have successfully reached across sectors and established strong working relationships with members of the Inter-Agency Working Group on Reproductive Health in Crisis (IAWG). We co-hosted a strategic consultation in July 2018, highlighting the need to ensure respectful maternity care for women and babies in humanitarian settings.

Our collaboration with the Inter-Agency Working Group on Reproductive Health in Crisis (IAWG) and the strategic consultation we held together in July has catalyzed action among partners on RMC in humanitarian settings:

– Respectful maternity care was integrated in the newly released IAWG Field Manual: http://iawg.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/IAFM-9-maternalnewbornhealth.pdf as well as in the Minimum Initial Service Package: http://www.iawg.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/MISP-Cheatsheet.pdf guaranteeing that women and babies are provided with respectful care even in humanitarian settings
– Respectful maternity care was also prioritized in the IAWG sexual and reproductive health research priority-setting agenda: http://iawg.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/2018-09-IAWG-SRHR-research-workshop-report.pdf

In addition, the Global RMC Council has been active in ensuring that accountability for respectful maternity care is guaranteed in humanitarian settings. We submitted a report to the Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights to inform their report to the Human Rights Council, on Rights Based Approaches to Ending Preventable Maternal Mortality and Morbidity (A/HRC/39/26), This resulted in a strong resolution coming from the Human Rights Council (A/HRC/RES/39/13). The HRC resolution focuses on addressing the disproportionally high maternal mortality and morbidity rates affecting women and girls in humanitarian settings and emphasizes the need for accountability for the full range of rights violations of women and girls in humanitarian settings.


The Global Respectful Maternity Care Council (GRMCC) is multisectoral group of 22 organizations, representing over 200 members from around the world including researchers, clinicians, advocates, professional associations, UN agencies and donors dedicated to identifying, implementing and advocating for strategies to promote respectful maternity care and tackle the problem of disrespect and abuse during childbirth in order to improve the quality of reproductive, maternal, and newborn health care.

Over next five years, the GRMCC commits to advocating to build policy support for, investment in, and implementation of participatory accountability mechanisms to ensure that women’s rights to respectful maternity care are respected, protected, and fulfilled. We will also contribute to a robust body of evidence around best and scalable practices that effectively improve respectful maternity care, and to support adaptation of these practices by maternal and child health implementers and public health systems globally. Our work will include identifying gaps in knowledge related to respectful maternity care interventions; developing a framework for the organization and collection of respectful maternity care intervention evidence; developing a review that synthesizes the nature, location and success of various interventions to address disrespect and abuse across settings; and fostering sharing of evidence and promising approaches among researchers, implementers, advocates and policy-makers.

Commitment Progress

The Global Respectful Maternity Care Council is a multi-sectoral umbrella group representing 300 members from various countries. In June 2015, the Council established two subcommittees: a RMC Advocacy Subcommittee to develop and execute yearly advocacy plans on behalf of the RMC Council, and an Evidence Informed Approaches Subcommittee, created to provide a platform for partners with specific expertise  to focus in detail on sharing learning gleaned from implementing approaches that may promote respectful maternity care and reduce experiences of disrespect and abuse. The Council recognizes that this is a multi-layered problem requiring interdisciplinary approaches at various levels, and current evidence is limited. A Wiki-formatted practice-based database on respectful maternity care was developed.

The Council, through its Advocacy Subcommittee, has influenced global bodies and mechanisms to advocate for participatory accountability mechanisms that incorporate women’s experiences in childbirth. As a result, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights stressed in their report to the Human Rights Council the need for governments and others to invest in meaningful multi-stakeholder participatory processes, paying special attention to participation of affected groups, particularly women and girls. The Council also advocated with the UN High Level Working Group on Health and Human Rights of Women, Children & Adolescents for special attention to the needs of marginalized women and to prioritize the development of indicators that will measure participatory accountability mechanisms that reflect priorities that women themselves articulate. In addition, the Subcommittee developed a process indicator to measure coverage/quality of citizen monitoring. This indicator was proposed for inclusion in the monitoring framework for the Global Strategy for Women’s Children’s and Adolescent’s Health.

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