Vall d’Hebron participates in a European project against obstetric violence

The team will design and implement a training program for professionals for the respectful care of maternity and childbirth.


«Obstetric Violence (IPOV): An innovative tool for a respectful maternity and childbirth care» is an international and multidisciplinary staff exchange project focused on tackling the harmful and disrespectful treatment suffered by women in labour in health facilities. Obstetric violence is a worldwide concern in need of urgent attention (WHO 2014, UN 2019). The UNIUD (coordinator) was successful in its application to the European programme HORIZON-MSCA-2022-Staff Exchange, under the grant agreement n. 101130141. The agreement between the Italian University and the European Commission was officially signed on 23 October 2023 allowing for the IPOV-RESPECTFUL CARE project to start on 1 January 2024, and it will run for 4 years. The Maternal and Fetal Medicine group takes part of the project.

Professor Patrizia Quattrocchi of the Department of Humanities and Cultural Heritage at UNIUD is the Principal Investigator of the project. She takes this position as is an expert in medical anthropology who has studied the politics of birth and childbirth in different contexts for many years. Professor Quattrocchi will coordinate the large international partnership made up of 19 institutions from 6 European countries and 3 Latin American countries. A team of 39 experts, including researchers, professors, health professionals and members of civil society organisations, will work to achieve four scientific objectives:

  • The design and implementation of an international, interdisciplinary, intersectoral and cross-sectoral digital platform capable of linking academic research and public policies focused on the perspectives and needs of women and civil society.
  • The continuous updating of the platform with research material and data collected or produced by the team members. The platform will be the real and virtual instrument through which a wide range of experiences and evidence will be made available, resulting from the continuous transfer of knowledge between team members involved in exchange and mobility activities in different institutions.
  • The design and implementation of an innovative training programme for health professionals (particularly gynaecologists and obstetricians) based on an intersectional, gender and human rights perspective and participatory methodologies. This programme will be a core element of the project and will be implemented at the Vall d’Hebron Hospital in Barcelona in 2025. This pilot experience will be analysed and validated, paving the way for the design of programmes and materials that can be accessed remotely through the platform. Strategies and tools will then be transferred to the Materny and Child hospital S. Isidro, in Argentina, through the secondments among health professionals from both institutions.
  • The identification of strategies capable of bringing together different actors in the field (from social movements to national and supranational institutions) and offering a permanent tool of specific advice to relevant stakeholders and decision-makers. This tool will consist of a network of permanent experts who will be in charge of organising a Consensus Conference on obstetric violence to be held in France in 2027. The event will bring together leading European and international experts and stakeholders in the field.

A series of research, training, dissemination and communication activities are also planned for both the scientific community and civil society. These activities include the development of graphic materials and awareness-raising campaigns targeted at women and couples, seminars and teaching activities, as well as the production of scientific publications, audiovisual and documentary materials.

The relevance of the IPOV-RESPECTFUL CARE project, which invites reflection on the systemic and structural dimensions of obstetric violence (defined in the international literature as gender-based, institutional violence and a violation of human rights as part of an increasingly interventionist model of care), is also reflected in the growing interest in the topic shown by European and international institutions (UN 2019, Council of Europe 2019, European Parliament 2021). The aim is to contribute to the social, political and medical debates on this issue, considered by the WHO as a major public health problem, and to build an alliance between the scientific community, health professionals, policy makers, women and civil society in order to rethink the modalities of a fundamental act par excellence: how we come into the world.

In addition to Vall d’Hebron and the University of Udine, the following partners are involved in the project: for Spain, the Universitat Rovira I Virgili (Tarragona), the Universidad de Granada, the Universidad Complutense (Madrid), En Positivo Comunicación y Diseño Social for NGOs (Malaga), the Observatorio de Violencia Obstétrica (Madrid); for France, the Institut National d’Études Démographiques (Aubervilliers Cedex); for Norway, the Universitetet i Søraust-Noreg (Porsgrunn); for the United Kingdom, the University of Durham; for Portugal, the Instituto Universitário (Lisbon) and Gimnográvida – Preparação Para Parto e Maternidade (Porto); for Italy, the Istituto di Cura a Carattere Scientifico e Ospedale materno infantile Burlo Garofolo-Who collaborating Centre for maternal and Childbirth health (Trieste) and the Scuola elementare di arte ostetrica in Firenze; for Argentina, the Universidad Nacional de Entre Ríos (Concepción del Uruguay), the Municipalidad de San Isidro-Hospital materno-infantil de San Isidro (Buenos Aires), the Asociación Civil Argentina de Puericultura (Buenos Aires); for Costa Rica, the Universidad de Costa Rica (San José); and for Uruguay, the Universidad de La República (Montevideo).


Logos projecte IPOV

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