#OVO: A Spanish Watchdog organization for the prevention and eradication of obstetric violence

 
BACKGROUND
 
Since the Spanish association El Parto es Nuestro was founded , we have witnessed a steady raise in malpractice, abuse of power and obstetric violence in the reports submitted by users, families and health professionals in Spain. This was then made apparent by the all the different campaigns El Parto es Nuestro has launched:
. A criticism to the Spanish Doula's Report, an official report in which doulas were referred to as a "cannibal sect" (2015)
. "STOP Kristeller: A matter of concern" referring to the fundal pressure still practiced in Spain (2013) 
. "Together in NICU" to keep families together with their babies while in neonatal units (2012)
. "Don't let them separate you" to encourage skin to skin and avoid routined separation after birth (2008)
. "Campaign for Transparency in Obstetrics", referring to the lack of data in the statistics (2007)
. And the "Campaign against episiotomy" to fight performing episiotomies as a routined procedure (2005)
 
Furthermore, statistical reports at a national level, such as the Report on maternity care in the National Health System, December 2012 (Ministry of Health, Social Services and Equality), contained some alarming data on both clinical procedures and protocol actions, where only 15.5% included all the recommendations established on the guidelines for physiological childbirth.
 
Also a last "push" on the creation of OVO was the Declaration of the World Health Organization (September 30, 2014) on "Prevention and Eradication of disrespect and abuse during childbirth" in which WHO calls for:
. Greater support from governments and development for research and action
. Programmes to improve the quality of maternal health care, with a strong focus on respectful care
. Greater emphasis on the rights of women to dignified, respectful healthcare through pregnancy and childbirth
. The generation of data related to respectful and disrespectful care practices, systems of accountability and meaningful professional support
. The involvement of all stakeholders, including women, in efforts to improve quality of care and eliminate disrespectful and abusive practices  
 
For all the above mentioned reasons, it became urgent and necessary to create a multidisciplinary organisation to act as a watchdog in Spain that works exclusively for the eradication of obstetric violence. OVO commenced on November 25 of 2014.
 
WHAT IS OVO?
 
OVO stands for "Observatory of obstetric violence" (an observatory of this kind in Spanish is a watchdog type of organisation), which is a multidisciplinary body, composed by five specialists in obstetric violence. 
OVO was created by the association El Parto es Nuestro and remains dependent of it. Its purpose is to publicly report the incidence of malpractices that constitute obstetric violence, whose victims are not only women and those around them, but also the professionals dedicated to the health and care of women in all stages of motherhood.
OVO's objectives are to serve as a channel of communication between health institutions, professional groups and associations of users, to promote collaboration among these three sectors and in doing so achieving the eradication of obstetric violence, acting as an organ of collection, analysis and disseminating information concerning obstetric violence, while looking for ways to network with international organisations with similar objectives, and that is why we are here today.
 
OVO's main actions are the following:
a. Collect testimonials from users who have suffered obstetric violence, this will always be done in strict confidentiality.
b. To write an annual report on the incidence of obstetric violence in Spain and the practices that usually constitute it; This report will have to be approved by the board of El Parto es Nuestro and seek in its approach to establish a dialogue with Spanish  health institutions.
and
c. Suggest new guidelines and approaches to maternity services which will, of course,always be supported both by the latest scientific evidence and the legislation of human rights.
Through OVO's website:
- mothers are provided with the possibility of filling in an online questionnaire, in doing so we  also hope to collect statistical data for the 2016's report.
- and health professionals have the possibility of sharing their experiences of working in violent environments and sharing their proposals to prevent and / or eliminate it. Which also serves as data for OVO.
 
OVO and other Watchdog organizations for the erradication of obstetric violence founded in Chile, Colombia, Argentina and France have recently allied and created InterOvo, so as to work together towards the end of such type of gender violence.
 
We will proudly present OVO internationally at the next conference of ENCA (European Network of Childbirth Associations) in Berlin this weekend.
 
Text: María López de Hierro
Translation: Amparo Mora and Jesusa Ricoy
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