Cyprus University of Technology: RESPECT: The Department of Nursing participates in a project on maternity care

The Department of Nursing of the Cyprus University of Technology (CUT) participates, as coordinator, in the RESPECT research project on “Respectful Maternity Care”.

In the framework of this project, a closed meeting of stakeholders was held on 21 March 2024, organised in collaboration with the European Programmes and Cultural Relations Agency, National Contact Point of the CERV project.

RESPECT, “Towards a culture of Respectful Maternity Care (RMC): Enhancing Shared Decision Making and Informed Choice”, is co-funded by the CERV 2021-2027 programme.

The aim of the project is to promote quality standards based on the principles and criteria for “Respectful Maternity Care”, set by the World Health Organization, the White Ribbon Alliance Charter of Rights, and other relevant international and European scientific and professional bodies.

The workshop presented data from the RESPECT research study on the experiences of women in Cyprus of the care provided. Specific reports on the evaluation of different dimensions of care will be announced in detail later on.

Indicatively, the aspect with the most room for improvement based on the women’s evaluation is the dimension of “Communication and Autonomy”, which confirms the original intention of the project to focus on actions to strengthen the clinical communication skills of Health Professionals to effectively support women in making informed choices and active participation in decision making.

The guest of honour at the workshop was Professor Marzia Lazzerini, (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine) and Director of the Trieste-based Research Institute for Maternal and Neonatal Health, a World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Centre.

Prof. Lazzerini reported on the pan-European study IMAgiNE EURO (Improving Maternal and Newborn CarE in the European Region) of which she is Scientific Officer. This is the largest study evaluating the quality of Maternal-Newborn care services in the European Region. For the purposes of comparative results with the rest of Europe, Cyprus has recently joined the network as part of the wider RESPECT project activities.

The IMAgiNE EURO study identified large disparities between the 26 countries participating in the study in terms of women’s experiences of maternity care, as well as within each country. The overall assessment is a combination of women’s self-reported experience of care based on a set of 40 WHO quality indicators, with a similar set of indicators relating to the views of care providers.

The comparative results show our country ranking close to the European average in terms of women’s experiences. It is important to note that no country registers high scores on all indicators, while a systematic pattern emerges with countries systematically registering higher or lower scores on all indicators.

A study to record health professionals’ views on this issue is ongoing. The questionnaire is addressed to all health professionals involved in the provision of maternal and/or newborn care, namely, gynaecologists/obstetricians, midwives/obstetricians, paediatricians, neonatologists and nurses in maternal/neonatal care facilities.

Available online here or at the following link:

Representatives from 35 organisations and institutions participated in the proceedings. Participants included scientific societies in maternal and child health care, directorates and sectors of the Ministry of Health and other governmental agencies, OAI, quality offices of the Ministry of Health and other relevant policy makers, Academic institutions with clinical curricula (Medicine, Nursing, Midwifery), Offices of Commissions (Administration and Protection of Rights, Gender Equality, Supervision of GHS) and other independent institutions, NGOs, women’s organisations and other civil society groups.

The very positive response from the stakeholders is an indication of a cooperative spirit and the intention of all to contribute constructively to the co-design of a Strategy for the promotion of quality standards and criteria for Maternity Care, the ultimate goal of the RESPECT programme. Stakeholders were invited to participate in an advisory role in the subsequent activities of the programme in order to contribute with their expertise and experience within their competences.

The interdisciplinary, cross-sectoral nature of this ‘social alliance’ is in line with the World Health Organisation’s recommendation on the need to adopt an inclusive process in initiatives to improve the quality of maternity care and to target research knowledge to formulate relevant policies, interventions and actions.

In the first phase, a mapping of the current situation was carried out to identify weaknesses and challenges as well as strengths and opportunities. This was followed by a first inventory of proposed actions in 4 thematic areas (Clinical Practice and Policies, Clinical Education and Continuing Professional Development, Public Awareness and Awareness Raising, and finally, Research and Data Collection). The findings of the workshop will be sent in the next period to the stakeholders for comments and suggestions before planning the next activities.

Project Coordinator:

Department of Nursing, School of Health Sciences, CUT,


Birth Forward (Cyprus),

RODA – Parents in Action (Croatia),

University of Genoa, Faculty of Medicine and Surgery, UNIGE,

Partner organisations:

MIGS – Mediterranean Institute of Gender Studies,

OSAK – Federation of Cyprus Patients’ Associations,

Co-funded by the EU through the programme:

CERV 2021-2027 “Citizens, Equality, Rights and Values”.

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