Can Forum Play Contribute to Counteracting Abuse in Health Care? A Pilot Intervention Study in Sri Lanka
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2019, 16 (1616), . 10.3390/ijerph16091616
Obstetric violence refers to the mistreatment of women in pregnancy and childbirth care by their health providers. It is linked to poor quality of care, lack of trust in health systems, and adverse maternal and neonatal outcomes. Evidence of interventions to reduce and prevent obstetric violence is limited. We developed a training intervention using a participatory theatre technique called Forum Play inspired by the Theatre of the Oppressed for health providers in Sri Lanka. This paper assesses the potential of the training method to increase staff awareness of obstetric violence and promote taking action to reduce or prevent it. We conducted four workshops with 20 physicians and 30 nurses working in three hospitals in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Participants completed a questionnaire before and three-to-four months after the intervention. At follow-up, participants more often reported that they had been involved in situations of obstetric violence, indicating new knowledge of the phenomenon and/or an increase in their ability to conceptualise it. The intervention appears promising for improving the abilities of health care providers to recognise obstetric violence, the first step in counteracting it. The study demonstrates the value of developing further studies to assess the longitudinal impacts of theatre-based training interventions to reduce obstetric violence and, ultimately, improve patient care.