In Zambia, Breakthrough RESEARCH, through a study led by ideas42, is working to unpack and address the behavioral challenges that prevent providers from adhering to best practices during facility-based deliveries. After a scoping visit in Zambia and literature review of more than 20 related provider behaviors, the research team chose providers’ behavior during delivery—specifically, respectful maternal care—as a focus of study because of its potential for generating knowledge and having an impact on maternal health care.

ideas42 partnered with the USAID-funded Safe Motherhood 360+ project to conduct in-depth qualitative research with midwives, postpartum women, and other stakeholders to identify the behavioral drivers of disrespectful care. Using these insights, ideas42 and SM360+ are working with providers and patients to design solutions based in behavioral economics that can improve the experience of delivery care for the women of Zambia’s Eastern Province.

Enhancing Respectful Care During Labor and Delivery

Studies show that disrespectful or coercive behaviors by doctors, nurses, and midwives can be a common experience for women in many countries during childbirth. Breakthrough RESEARCH, with input from USAID and implementing partners, has developed a programmatic research brief that describes insights from behavioral design about why health care providers may not follow best practices in providing respectful maternal care during labor and delivery.

The brief uses behavioral analysis design to analyze contextual features and behavioral barriers to respectful maternal care in urban and rural health care settings. Drawing on the insights from this process, the brief identifies a set of simple, adaptable low-cost solutions to help providers follow best practice guidelines.

See Breakthrough RESEARCH’s programmatic research brief for more information on the tools behavioral design offers to improve women’s experience of care in labor and delivery.

For more information, contact Jana Smith.


Enhancing Respectful Care During Labor and Delivery [English | French]

Piloting Respectful Maternity Care Solutions: research findings from a study in Zambia [English | French]

Provider Provision of Respectful Maternity Care: findings from a small-scale evaluation in Chipata, Zambia [English | French]

Barriers to Provision of Respectful Maternity Care in Zambia: results from a qualitative study through the lens of behavioral science [Go to BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth website]

Promoting Respectful Maternity Care in Zambia: Findings from a pilot in Chipata, Zambia [Webinar | Slides]

Jana Smith