The report notes that maternal mortality rates in South Africa remain unacceptably high. While the country has seen improvements since 2011, the number of women and girls dying during pregnancy or shortly after giving birth has increased dramatically since 2000.
Between March 2013 and September 2014, Amnesty International teams visited the two provinces and conducted desk-based research into the factors contributing to poor antenatal care. Researchers found several factors led women to delay or avoid seeking antenatal care, namely:
- Lack of privacy, patient confidentiality and informed consent at health facilities, especially around the implementation of HIV testing during antenatal care;
- Lack of information and knowledge about sexual and reproductive health and rights, including lack of training on the part of health care workers; and
- Persistent problems relating to the availability and costs of transport.
The report recommends increased awareness about patients’ rights, especially that regarding informed consent. It also advocates better education around sexual and reproductive health and rights that includes men and boys. Finally, it stresses the need to address the unavailability and high cost of transport to and from the clinic for pregnant women possibly through pregnancy-related grants or subsidized transport.
Download the report: Struggle for Maternal Health